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Russia to hold airborne drills near Ukraine border simulating capturing new territory

Hundreds of Russian paratroopers are holding two days of military drills in and around Ukraine simulating capturing territory, Moscow said on Thursday, upping the ante in its standoff with the West over Kyiv’s membership in Nato.

The defence ministry said 1,200 paratroopers, over 250 vehicles and and aircraft will take part in war games at a training ground in Crimea and in the southern Krasnodar region, across the Azov Sea from the Ukrainian coast, on Thursday and Friday.

Moscow said the drills would practise capturing an area in a mock offensive operation “ensuring a quick advance of the main body of troops.”

The drills come just two days after Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, warned that Russia was prepared to take “military measures” in response to the West’s “aggressive” actions in Ukraine, hinting at potential conflict.

Russian troops and heavy weaponry have been moving across the country towards the Ukrainian border for months, with the Kremlin warning of potential action in response to what it sees as Western encroachment towards its borders.

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