: Russia holds military drills in occupied Crimea

17:04 Mar. 16, 2016

Russia holds military drills in occupied Crimea

Russian artillery launches missiles during military exercises in Chelyabinsk region (Getty Images)

Apart from Crimea, large-scale exercises are staged in South Ossetia, Armenia and Abkhazia

On March 16 Russia's Defence Ministry started large-scale military drills on the annexed Crimean peninsula and in South Ossetia, Armenia and Abkhazia.

According to the ministry's website "more than 2,000 units of weaponry and military equipment, including the ‘Grad' and ‘Uragan' multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS), the MSTA-S and ‘Akatsiya (Acacia)' self-propelled howitzers, mortars, as well as anti-tank guided missile systems are involved in the drill."

Russian forces annexed Ukraine's Crimea in March 2014 after Russian-backed disgraced former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych fled Ukraine following the death of more than one hundred protesters.

Read also 7,000 Russian regular troops are currently stationed in eastern Ukraine

In January Russia announced it would form four new military divisions in 2016 to strengthen its western and central regions in response to the increase in NATO drills.

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