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MiGs, Sukhois Deployed to Western Crimea
By Harold Hutchison

Russian aircraft are deploying to western Crimea as the Ukraine is continuing its offensive against pro-Russian militias in the eastern part of that country. This comes as more violence has broken out in the Eastern European country.

According to media reports, MiG-29 and Su-27 fighters, along with Tu-22M bombers have deployed to forward bases. These are some of the top-line aircraft in the Russian Air Force. Last month, a Su-24 Fencer, a slightly older tactical bomber, buzzed the destroyer USS Donald Cook.

The Russian deployment comes as Ukrainian forces have continued their push against the militias that have seized numerous towns and government buildings. Some media reports indicated that the militias are now using civilians as human shields. The Ukrainian Interior Ministry reported that four Ukrainian troops were killed in fighting earlier today. Reports also indicate that pro-Russian militias have been driven from around the city of Slovyansk. Another Ukrainian Mi-24 helicopter was shot down during the fighting Monday.

The Ukrainian offensive comes as new details emerge about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s efforts to keep Europe dependant on Russia for its energy needs. National Review Online reported that Russian-owned media outlets, including Russia Today and Voice of Russia, have been running numerous stories critical of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” – while the Russian gas company Gazprom has been reportedly teaming with environmentalist groups in Europe to get governments to ban the procedure in a number of European countries.