Russia stages military exercises as Ukrainian forces advance
Wednesday, August 6, 2014
On Monday, as Ukrainian forces continue to advance into rebel held territory,announced it is to hold military exercises near its border with .
Russia said the exercises would involve over 100 aircraft. Western leaders have accused Russia of a military build-up adjacent to Ukraine. Russia held military exercises in the area in March; last weekGeneral said Russia still has 12,000 troops adjacent to Ukraine, although Russia has claimed its forces have withdrawn from the area. Russia has also been accused of arming rebels in the continuing fighting in Eastern Ukraine.
Russia also said the exercises were to include an array of fighters, bombers and helicopters, and toldthe purpose of the exercises is to improve air force cohesion. This week's exercises are to be followed by others with the same goal.
Meanwhile, fighting continued in Eastern Ukraine as government forces advance on the cities ofand , the principal cities left in rebel hands. These cities have both been reported to be surrounded, with civilians stockpiling resources in preparation for a siege amid worsening conditions. reported groups of rebels arming themselves with a mixture of new and old weapons, while telling accounts of setbacks inflicted upon the Ukrainian army.
The fighting, ongoing since April, is reported to have increased in intensity sincewas shot down last month. The cause of the crash is still being investigated with experts from the and continuing to search the crash site.
- "Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 shot down over eastern Ukraine, killing 298" — Wikinews, July 19, 2014
- Timothy Heritage and Maria Tsvetkova. "Russia to hold war games in show of strength near Ukraine" — , August 4, 2014
- "Many Ukraine soldiers cross into Russia amid shelling" — , August 4, 2014
- Tom Parfitt. "Ukrainian forces advance to edge of rebel stronghold Donetsk" — , August 3, 2014