Ukrainian forces practice repelling tank and infantry attack near the border of Russian-annexed Crimea

Ukraine’s armed forces rehearsed repelling a tank and infantry attack near the border of Russian-annexed Crimea on Wednesday, the Ukrainian military said in a statement.

The drills came a day after U.S. President Joe Biden phoned Russian President Vladimir to discuss a build-up of Russian troops near eastern Ukraine and in Crimea, among other U.S. concerns, Reuters has reported.

Russia seized Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and fighting has increased in recent weeks in eastern Ukraine, where government forces have battled Russian-backed separatists in a seven-year conflict that Kyiv says has killed 14,000 people.



The Ukrainian military said it had deployed tanks and artillery in Wednesday’s drills to practice repelling a force of tanks and infantry trying to break through its defences.

It posted video footage, set to rock music, of Ukrainian tanks manoeuvring in formation and of soldiers loading and firing artillery pieces.

Currently, the country has around 255,000 active military personnel and another 900,000 reservists, according to the Global Firepower Index.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Tuesday that Moscow’s military build-up near Ukraine was part of a large snap drill meant to test combat readiness and respond to what he called threatening military action by NATO.

Shoigu said that the three-week exercise, which he called successful, was due to wrap up in the next two weeks.The Russian navy will hold snap live-fire drills in the Black Sea on Wednesday as the first of two US warships is expected to arrive, the military has announced.

Two missile ships - the Graivoron and Vyshny Volochek - will take part in target practice alongside the missile hovercraft Samum, accompanied by the frigate Admiral Makarov and mine-sweeping ship Ivan Golubets, the Russian navy's Black Sea fleet command said.

Shoigu said NATO was deploying 40,000 troops and 15,000 pieces of military equipment near Russia’s borders, mainly in the Black Sea and the Baltic regions.

The Western alliance denies any such plans.

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