Russia begins large-scale military exercises in annexed Crimea

Russia will hold exercises of the airborne forces in Crimea and the Krasnodar Krai, TASS reported, citing Russian Defense Ministry.

The drills will begin on December 23 at the Opuk training ground in Crimea. The paratroopers, artillery, chemical and nuclear defense units will conduct live firing drills. The military will also practice demining a section of the terrain and providing fire support to the troops using drones and air attack weapons.

"Military personnel will perform live firing exercises and strike targets at various ranges," the press service of the Russian Defense Ministry said.

The troops will also practice airborne assault operations from helicopters to support a quick offensive of the main forces. They will be supported by fire from Mi-35 helicopters.

The next day, exercises will begin at the Rayevsky training range near Novorossiysk. During these drills, the landing troops will work out short range combat operations and reconnaissance and strike actions with the support of an artillery battalion.

The maneuvers will be attended by the high-ranking military officials led by the commander of the Airborne Forces, Colonel-General Andrei Serdyukov. More than 1.2 thousand servicemen and more than 250 units of equipment will take part in them.

  Crimea, Russia, Ukraine