The Russian military is starting to conduct “combat readiness” tests as tensions between the Kremlin and Ukraine have escalated in recent weeks.
Ukrainian soldiers controlled their tanks near the front line with the Russian-backed separatist faction bordering the Lysychansk, Lugansk region on April 7, 2021 (Image: STR / AFP via Getty Images)
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu stated during a meeting at the Ministry of Defense on April 6: “According to the plan to train the armed forces, tests have begun to take place at the governing bodies. Military management, formations and military units of the Russian armed forces. Soldiers have arrived at the site for strategic, tactical-special and bilateral exercises. ”
A total of 4,048 military drills will be held in Russia this month at 520 training facilities and 101 training grounds, most of which take place in the Far East in Siberia, the official said.
Specifically, the main training exercises for combat and training will be held at the Tsugol and Sergeevsky training grounds of the Eastern Military Region. In the remaining military zones, as in the Northern Fleet, check and control were carried out under the direction of military commanders.
On April 2, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that any NATO military deployment to Ukraine would lead to further tensions between Kyiv and Moscow.
Earlier, on April 1, NATO voiced concern about the news of Russia’s major military construction campaign near eastern Ukraine, after Russia warned that a serious escalation in conflict in the region. Ukraine’s Donbass area could “destroy” Ukraine.
“Our statement [on Donbas] is completely constructive,” Peskov told reporters, according to TASS. “We are not daydreaming. Unfortunately, the reality along the teamfight lane is quite intimidating. The attacks by the Ukrainian armed forces took place. They are not random. A lot of them are like that. ”
In late March, Ukrainian officials announced the deaths of four members of the Ukrainian army near Shumy, and stressed that forces loyal to the Donetsk People’s Republic should be held accountable. However, the Donetsk side refused responsibility and insisted the soldiers were killed by a mine buried in the ground.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky tweeted on April 1, “aggression in the form of border exercises with Ukraine is an attempt to pressure negotiations over a ceasefire and a draw. our vase ”.
“We are always ready to respond to provocations,” he added. “Ukraine’s military is not only a matter of force and strength, but also intelligence and balance”.
Meanwhile, videos posted on social media showed an influx of Russian military vehicles approaching Ukraine. Ukrainian tanks also appear in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters on April 2 he believed that the Ukrainian military did not really want a “hot conflict” in the region. “I really hope they will not be ‘incited’ by politicians influenced by the West, but led by America,” he emphasized.