The Russian Federation announced the start of the next large-scale military exercises on the territory of the temporarily occupied Crimea. Their duration will be three days, and geographically they will be held at the Opuk training grounds, located on the Black Sea coast of the Kerch Peninsula, the Russian outlet TASS reports.
According to the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, more than 2,000 Russian soldiers of the airborne assault and artillery regiments of the Novorossiysk Guards airborne assault mountain unit of the Airborne Forces will take part in the exercises. More than 100 pieces of equipment are involved in the maneuvers, including airborne combat vehicles BDM-4M, armored personnel carriers BTR-MDM Rakushka, tanks T-72B3, 122-mm howitzers D-30. During the exercises on the occupied peninsula, various types of weapons will be used, including assault rifles AK-12, machine guns Pecheneg, grenade launchers RPG-7D, infantry rocket-assisted flamethrower RPO-A Shmel and others.
"The units will practice defense, during which they will carry out combat firing exercises with fire from the standard weapons of military equipment, together with anti-aircraft missile, anti-tank, flamethrower, artillery and sniper units," the Russian Ministry of Defense said in a statement.
Context. In April 2021, Russia, under the pretext of allegedly conducting exercises, pulled a large number of troops to the border with Ukraine. In this regard, representatives of the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Lithuania, and Poland discussed the growing activity of the Russian military and accused Moscow of escalating the conflict. At that time the Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration of the Russian Federation Dmitry Kozak said that if Kyiv started hostilities in the Donbass, it would be "the beginning of the end of Ukraine."
On April 22, the Russian Federation announced the end of the "exercises" and promised to withdraw its troops by May 1. Meanwhile, in early May, the newspaper WSJ reported that the Russians had broken their promise and continued to retain a reinforced military presence near Ukraine. According to the newspaper, in fact, only a few thousand soldiers were withdrawn from the Ukrainian border, and another 80,000 remained in their former positions.
In September this year, Russia held the West-2021 military exercises that were attended by a contingent from Armenia, Belarus, Mongolia, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan.