MFA Ukraine: Russia`s Caucasus 2016 drills constitute increasing military threat

Ukraine is deeply concerned with the military exercises ”Caucasus 2016” which are being held in the occupied territories and near the border of Ukraine, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine said in its comment Wednesday.

”The massive build-up of the Russian joint military force grouping in the occupied territories and on the border of Ukraine, bringing it to the highest alert constitute an increasing immediate military threat to Ukraine,” the comment reads.

Under the guise of a sudden inspection of the combat readiness of the Russian Armed Forces on August 25-31, which had in fact become an initial phase of the ”Caucasus-2016” military exercises, Russia has concentrated on the south-western direction a joint military force grouping of about 100,000 soldiers (including about 41,000 near the borders of Ukraine), more than 2,500 combat vehicles, 60 ships, and 400 aircraft. More than 11,000 soldiers were redeployed to the Southern Military District from other districts of Russia, the Ukrainian diplomats say.

The ministry also underlines that ”in the military doctrine of Russian Federation such steps, namely deployment (build-up) by a foreign state of military units in the areas adjacent to Russia including with the aim of exerting political and military pressure, are defined as one of the main external military threats.”

Moreover, these provocative actions of the aggressor state take place against the backdrop of Russia`s blocking of the Minsk process, its failure to fulfill the security provisions of the Minsk agreements and escalation in Donbas. ”Explicitly provocative actions of the Russian Federation negate international efforts to stabilize the situation in Donbas and threaten the regional stability, ” reads the comment.

”It is noteworthy that on the backdrop of the Caucasus 2016 military exercises, command and staff exercises of the 1 and 2 army corps of the Russian occupation troops in Donbas are being held on September 5-9,” the foreign ministry wrote. ”Such practice has recently become regular as all measures of operational and combat training of these units take place within the integrated system of the Russian armed forces under control of members of the General Staff and the Southern Military Command District of Russia.”

Ukraine urged Russia to stop the provocative build-up of its military presence in the occupied territories and near the border with Ukraine and take steps to reduce tensions.

”We call on the international community and partners of Ukraine to undertake measures to encourage Russia to give up provocations and actions aimed at the destruction of the global and regional security,” the Ukrainian foreign ministry wrote.

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