Russian Military Begins Drills
By Harold Hutchison
The Russian military began drills near the border with the Ukraine as an “anti-terror” operation pushed closer to the city of Slovyansk, which has been taken over by gunmen. This comes after five people were killed as Ukrainian forces took over some checkpoints.
According to multiple media reports, about 40,000 Russian troops have begun new drills as Russia’s foreign minister has claimed that the West is seeking to control the Ukraine. The country has been in turmoil since former president Viktor Yanukovych was forced out of power after weeks of protests.
In past weeks, Russia has seized the Crimean peninsula and a number of Ukrainian naval vessels. Russia has also warned that it will intervene to protect the interests of ethnic Russians. A pro-Russian “people’s mayor” who seized control in Slovyansk has said that anyone holding certain leaflets from the Ukrainian government would be summarily shot.
A 16 April firefight near the city of Mariupol left three pro-Russian militiamen dead.