Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Russian troops engage in war games near Ukraine

SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine — Russia conducted new military maneuvers near its border with Ukraine on Thursday, and President Vladimir Putin said the world shouldn't blame his country for what he called Ukraine's "internal crisis."

In Crimea, where the public will vote Sunday on whether to break away from Ukraine and become part of Russia, jittery residents lined up at banks to withdraw cash from their accounts amid uncertainty over the future of the peninsula, which Russian troops now control. Violence engulfed the eastern Donetsk region, where clashes between pro-Russia demonstrators and supporters of the Ukrainian government left at least one person dead.

"These people are afraid their bank will collapse and no one wants to lose their money," said resident Tatiana Sivukhina. "Nobody knows what will happen tomorrow."

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will meet in London today in a last-ditch bid to end the international standoff over the Crimean referendum, which Ukraine and the West have rejected as illegitimate.

In Berlin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel sharply criticized Russia, saying the territorial integrity of Ukraine cannot be compromised.

Speaking to Germany's Parliament, Merkel said Russia risks "massive" political and economic consequences over the crisis. She said the only way out is through diplomacy and that "the use of the military is no option."

On Wednesday, Moscow rejected the Ukrainian government's claim that a massive Russian military buildup near the countries' border was raising the threat of a possible invasion.

But on Thursday Russia's Defense Ministry said thousands of Russian troops in the regions of Rostov, Belgorod, Kursk and Tambov bordering Ukraine are involved in the exercises, which will continue until the end of the month.

Amateur photographs appeared to show columns of armored vehicles and trucks in the border village of Lopan, 30 miles from the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv.

In the southern Rostov region, the maneuvers involved parachuting in 1,500 troops, the ministry said. The drills included the military conducting large artillery exercises involving 8,500 soldiers and artillery and rocket systems in the south.

The United States has sent additional fighter jets to Poland and Lithuania. Russian responded Thursday by deploying six fighter jets to Belarus, its ally.

Russian troops engage in war games near Ukraine 03/13/14 [Last modified: Thursday, March 13, 2014 11:00pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Video shows naked man who stole swan sculpture in Lakeland, deputies say

    Crime

    The Polk County Sheriff's Office is searching for a naked man who stole a large black and white swan sculpture from a Lakeland storage facility last weekend.

    The Polk County Sheriff's Office says this naked man  stole a large black and white swan sculpture from a Lakeland storage facility last weekend.
Surveillance video showed the man walking into Lakeland Cold Storage. [Polk County Sheriff's Office]
  2. Fennelly: Dirk Koetter's apology no way to keep this fidget spinning

    Bucs

    TAMPA — It all began with a fidget spinner.

    This tweet from the Bucs, mocking the Falcons' 28-3 lead they lost in the Super Bowl against the Falcons, prompted a public apology from head coach Dirk Koetter, who called it "unprofessional and not smart."
  3. Jeb money trickles into Putnam's bid for governor

    Blogs

    Money from a Jeb Bush super PAC has made its way into Florida’s 2018 governors race.
     
    A year ago, Bush’s Right to Rise PAC put $1,171 in money

  4. Men have body image issues too

    Health

    I have lost and gained weight several times in my adult life. It wasn't a problem when I was younger and working construction. An "ideal" office job 30 years ago started the yo-yo effect. I don't have any more weight to lose, but the potential of gaining it back is always there.

    Andrew Meacham, September 2005
  5. Health officials outline their plan for writing medical marijuana rules

    Blogs

    Florida health officials are taking the very earliest steps toward rolling out rules to let patients use medical marijuana after state lawmakers failed to resolve the issue during the final hours of their session earlier this month.

    Medical marijuana