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Russia conducted new military exercises amid tensions with Ukraine

Russia on Tuesday carried out new military drills near Ukraine and in annexed Crimea as it accused the US of triggering tensions by putting several thousands of its own soldiers on alert. 

The West has already accused Moscow of amassing more than 100,000 soldiers along the border with Ukraine. In response, the Russian military says it has launched exercises with 6,000 soldiers in the south of the country and in the Crimean Peninsula, which Moscow captured last year. 

The exercises include combat firing drills with fighter aircraft, bombers, anti-aircraft systems, and ships from the Black Sea and Caspian fleets. Russian President Vladimir Putin has been accused by the West of planning an invasion of pro-Western Ukraine and tensions with Moscow are at levels unprecedented since the Cold War. 

The Pentagon said that it had deployed 8500 soldiers on standby with the help of NATO, while the alliance said it was sending ships and aircraft to strengthen eastern Europe’s defenses. 

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