Russia kicks off military exercise in wake of rising Ukrainian tension with NATO
MOSCOW: Russia started large scale military drills in Southwestern Russia.
Defense ministry announced surprise military exercise in which thousands of troops and hundreds of warplanes are participating from southern region.
The drills came during increasing tensions between Russia and west over the Ukranian issue.
Russia recently claimed to strengthen its western and central regions and to form four new military divisions in response to NATO drills in Europe.
Russia annexed Ukraine in 2014 but later withdrew its forces on international invasion.
Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly claimed that up to 8,500 troops, 900 ground weapons, 200 warplanes and 50 warships will be involved in the drills.