3,000 Russian troops have begun live-fire drills in the western part of the country, including areas near Ukraine.
Russia’s Western Military District said on January 11 that live-fire drills would take place in the Smolensk region near the border with Belarus, and the Voronezh, Belgorod and Bryansk regions closer to Ukraine. 300 military hardware will be used in the operation, including T-72B3 tanks, BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicles and conventional guns.
“Each unit will complete the exercises by participating in a live-fire training battle in which BMP-2 armored vehicles and T-72B3 tanks will demonstrate their combined combat skills. , hit simulated targets at a maximum distance of 1,200 m”, the Western Military District said.
The announcement of the drills came a day after Russia and the United States held talks on the tense situation surrounding Ukraine for months, but failed to achieve a breakthrough. Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov confirmed that Russia “has no intention to attack Ukraine”, but warned the US “do not underestimate the risk of confrontation”.
On the Washington side, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman objected to Moscow’s “unlikely” security proposals, including a request to prevent the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) from admitting Ukraine. She also warned that Russia would face far more serious consequences than in 2014, when Moscow annexed Crimea, if it attacked Ukraine.
Deputy Minister Ryabkov said that there should be breakthroughs and concessions between the two sides. He said Moscow will decide whether to continue dialogue with Washington after a meeting with NATO officials on January 12. Meanwhile, the US representative said that the two sides had a frank exchange and are ready to meet again soon to discuss in detail bilateral issues.
Luster (Follow Reuters)