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Russia initiates military drills near Ukrainian border

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Russia holds military drills near the Ukrainian border as a response to Kiev’s using armed forces against pro-Russian protestors and NATO’s recent European exercises.

Russia’s military drills came on Thursday after President Vladimir Putin accused Kiev of using armed forces against protesters in Ukraine’s eastern regions.

Earlier on Thursday Ukrainian troops entered the eastern city of Slavyansk, killing at least five of pro-Russian protesters.

Meanwhile, Putin has warned Ukraine there would be consequences for decision makers following their use of force against pro-Russian protesters.

Over the past weeks, Russia has repeatedly warned Ukraine against using military action against pro-Russian protesters.

Pro-Russian activists have taken control of government buildings in more than ten cities in the eastern parts of the country. They have been demanding local referendums on independence.

On April 17, Ukraine’s interim government together with the United States, Russia and the European Union reached an agreement in the Swiss city of Geneva, calling for all sides to ease the ongoing crisis in eastern Ukraine, where anti-Kiev protesters keep occupying state buildings in several towns and cities.

Tensions between Western powers and Moscow heightened after Crimea declared independence from Ukraine and became part of Russia following a referendum on March 16, in which almost 97 percent of the participants voted for rejoining the Russian Federation, with a turnout of over 83 percent.


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