Russia says more troops returning to garrisons after drills in Crimea

Rear units of Southern Military District depart Crimean Peninsula, crossing Kerch Strait, says Russian Defense Ministry.

Russia says more troops returning to garrisons after drills in Crimea

Russia announced on Wednesday that rear units of its Southern Military District started returning to their places of permanent deployment after the completion of military exercises in Crimea.

"Units of logistics formation of the Southern Military District after the end of the events of the combat training have set off on march by ordinary transportation to points of permanent dislocation," said a statement by the Russian Defense Ministry.

"The personnel of units of logistics formation took part in planned tactic exercises at combined arms training grounds of the Crimean Peninsula," added the ministry.

As of the statement's release, the troops had already departed the Crimean Peninsula, crossing the Kerch Strait, the ministry said.

In a similar announcement on Tuesday, the Russian Defense Ministry announced that some troops in the western and southern military districts have started returning to their garrisons after completing exercises.

Some military exercises continue, specifically the Russian-Belarusian joint military drill, Allied Determination 2022, which is set to last until Feb. 20, it said.

In January, the Russian Defense Ministry also announced a series of large-scale military drills "in all areas of responsibility" for the Russian Navy, including in the Mediterranean, Northern, and Okhotsk seas, as well as in the northeastern Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean.

Over 140 warships and support vessels, more than 60 aircraft, 1,000 units of military equipment, about 10,000 military personnel will be engaged in the exercises, it said.

Tensions over Ukraine

Russia and Ukraine have been locked in a conflict since hostilities in the eastern Donbas region broke out in 2014 after Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula.

Moscow has recently been accused to have amassed thousands of troops near Ukraine, prompting fears that it could be planning another military offensive against its former Soviet neighbor.

The US and its allies have warned of an imminent attack, and threatened Russia with "severe consequences."

Moscow, however, has denied it is planning an attack, and said its troops are there for exercises.

Russia also issued a list of security demands to the West, including a rollback of troop deployments from some ex-Soviet states, and guarantees that some of those states would not join NATO.

In a written response to the demands, Washington said it is committed to upholding NATO's “open door policy,” while NATO also conveyed the alliance's reply “in parallel with the United States.”

Hüseyin Demir

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