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Russia announces naval military exercises in different areas in another exhibition of military muscle

Russia continues to flex its military muscle and flex it. The Russian Ministry of Defense has announced that it will begin naval maneuvers in different parts of the world in the coming days. The exercises, which are added to others imminent in Belarus, very close to the Ukrainian borders, will be carried out in its coastal waters – such as the Black Sea, where it already has numerous ships deployed and shares waters with Ukraine and three NATO countries: Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey—but also in the Mediterranean, the Northeast Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean. The announcement comes at the peak of tension due to the concentration of Russian troops along the borders with Ukraine and warnings from the United States that the Kremlin may launch a new military aggression against the former Soviet republic “shortly”.

The extensive naval exercises will involve 140 warships, more than 60 aircraft, 1,000 units of military equipment and nearly 10,000 soldiers and will last until February, according to Defense. Russian troops will also carry out joint maneuvers this Friday with China and Iran in the Indian Ocean.

Russia weeks ago began deploying some 100,000 Russian soldiers along its borders with Ukraine, and is mobilizing more troops to encircle the eastern country on several sides. It has soldiers on its eastern fringes, on the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea, which it annexed in an illegal referendum in 2014, on the Black Sea and also in Belarus, near Ukraine's northern borders, where it will carry out maneuvers in early February.

The Kremlin, which claims that it can mobilize its army inside Russia as it wishes, accuses NATO and the United States of raising tensions and also of planning “provocations” in Ukraine. One day after Washington warned that a new invasion would have serious economic consequences for Russia in the form of sanctions (the disconnection of Russia from the world banking system was even considered), the spokesman for the Russian Presidency, Dmitri Peskov, stated that this The threat of reprisals may “encourage” Ukraine to use force to regain control of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, in the hands of pro-Russian separatists supported politically and militarily by the Kremlin. “It may plant false hopes and exalt some representatives of the Ukrainian leadership who may decide to quietly restart a civil war in their country,” Peskov said in a conference call with reporters on Thursday.

Although different reports indicate that Russia supports and supplies arms to the pro-Russian separatists in Donbas, Moscow assures that the conflict, which will be eight years old and has claimed some 14,000 lives according to the UN, is a “civil war”. The US and Ukrainian intelligence services have pointed out that they have evidence that Russia is preparing a false flag operation, in the form of a provocation in the Donbas region – where there are constant violations of the ceasefire agreement – and that this is the casus belli that the Kremlin could use to openly enter the separatist regions of Donetsk and Lugansk to “defend” the around one million people who have received Russian passports in recent years.

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