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Russia halts military drills near Ukraine
MOSCOW - Russia`s president has asked all troops participating in military drills to return to their permanent bases on Tuesday, spokesperson said.
On Wednesday last week, President Vladimir Putin ordered surprise combat-preparedness drills for 150,000 troops based in western and central Russia.
The move, together with Russia`s increasing military build-up in the Crimea, triggered tension in Ukraine. In response, a full mobilization of the Ukraine army was requested.
According to the Russian defense ministry, around 150,000 soldiers, 90,000 aircrafts, more than 120 helicopters and 880 tanks took part in the drills.
Earlier, Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu dismissed claims that the military drills were related to the situation in Ukraine.
On Saturday, Russia’s Duma authorized military intervention in the Crimean peninsula, to allegedly ensure political stability and to protect its Russian ethnic majority.
Russian troops have reportedly taken control of Crimea as several thousand troops are stationed in the peninsula.
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