13:56 Aug. 9, 2016
Russian troops step up its military activity in annexed peninsula, near the border with Ukraine
Ukraine deploys more military equipment and forces to strengthen its army units in the Kherson region - near the administrative border between mainland Ukraine and Russia-annexed Crimea.
This was confirmed by Speaker of Ukraine's General Staff of the Armed Forces Vladyslav Seleznev, according to Krym.Realii.
Residents of the Henychesk area (Ukraine's Kherson region, near Russia-annexed Crimea) told that they spotted Ukrainian heavy military hardware, including anti-tank rocket launchers, moving in their direction.
Vladyslav Seleznyov said, Ukrainian authorities respond quickly and effectively to a situation that may be caused by Russia's possible military activities in this area.
Meanwhile, Ukraine's State Border Service spotted nine Russian helicopters and two drones above the border with the occupied Crimea.
"The Kherson border guards spotted nine Russian Mi-8 helicopters and two drones moving above the temporarily occupied territory of Crimea, along the administrative border with mainland Ukraine. The relevant units of armed forces were notified", the statement read.
On August 7, Russian occupation authorities suspended movement of cars and people at the administrative border of the temporarily occupied Crimean peninsula.
On the same day, Deputy Chairman of the Crimean Mejlis Nariman Dzhelalov wrote on Facebook: "Witnesses report that large groups of Russian military hardware have been massed near Armyansk and Dzhankoy. Dzhankoy has been cordoned off by troops with tanks and other equipment."
Speaker of Ukraine's General Staff Vladyslav Seleznev said that Russian military activity near the border with Crimea coincided with preparations for 'Northern Caucasus 2016' drills that will take place in Russia's Southern Federal District. The exercises will involve Russian-backed troops stationed in Crimea.
A threat level rises in Ukraine as Russia stepped up its military activity in the annexed Crimea.
Crimea was seized from Ukraine by Russia in February 2014. Ukraine's Parliament (Verkhovna Rada) officially declared February 20, 2014, a beginning of Russia's illegal occupation of Crimea and Sevastopol. Numerous world leaders strongly condemned the illegal annexation and launched a range of economic sanctions against Russia.
Despite the overall resentment, Moscow rejects the notion "occupation", naming its deeds instead "a renewal of historical justice".
On July 28, Russian President Vladimir Putin abolished the Crimean federal district by making Crimea and Sevastopol part of Russia's Southern federal district. Under the president's decree, the District now consists of Adygea, Kalmykia, Crimea, Krasnodar Territory, Astrakhan region, Volgograd region, Rostov region and Sevastopol. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry expressed its protest over such a decision and stated that Crimea remains a Ukrainian territory.