Russia and Ukraine have simultaneously held military exercises, while NATO Foreign and Defense Ministers started the urgent discussion of Russian force’s concentration near the Ukrainian border as Reuters reported.
The Russian Defense Ministry explained that the build-up of forces is three-week unscheduled drills for inspection of the combat readiness as a response to “threatening behavior from NATO”. The training exercises of the Russian forces should end in two weeks.
On Wednesday, on the eve of the arrival of the U.S. vessels, the Russian Fleet has started the drills in the Black Sea during which the firing at above-water and air targets were trained.
Meanwhile, in Ukraine, the armed forces practiced defeat of an attack of tanks and infantry near the border with Crimea annexed by Russia.
The same day, Ukraine’s Defense Minister Andriy Taran stated to the MEPs in Brussels that Russia potentially prepares to deploy nuclear weapons in Crimea.
As we reported, the U.S. sent two missile destroyers Donald Cook and Roosevelt to the Black Sea. In its turn, Russia stated that the entrance of the U.S. vessels in the Black Sea is a provocation and they should stay away from Crimea.
Meanwhile, Head of the President’s Office Andriy Yermak asked to deploy the American surface-to-air missile system MIM-104 Patriot in the territory of Ukraine.
Earlier, HATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg stated that Russia should stay away from issues related to Ukraine's aspirations to join the NATO.