Russia has reportedly stepped up its military maneuvers at 20 training grounds across southern Russia, some of which are being held right on the border with Ukraine.
More than 10,000 troops belonging to the Southern Military District will take part in the exercises, which will also take place in Abkhazia, Armenia and North Ossetia, as the Kremlin refuses to retreat and de-escalate tensions between the nations despite ongoing talks with the United States and threats of sanctions.
Some of the maneuvers will also be organized on the Black Sea with subdivisions of the coastal defense force of the Black Sea and Caspian fleets taking part.
According to the Southern Military District command, the goal of the maneuvers is to “teach new tactical activity in reconnaissance and strike groups, including the air force, artillery and sniper units.”
The soldiers are expected to test combat against enemy drones and counteract chemical and radio-electric attacks.
Warsaw’s Eastern Studies Center informed that the Southern Military District is the smallest among the five main administration units of the Russian army. Despite this, it is the district that has been the most engaged with Russian military activity such as the conflicts in Chechnya, Georgia and Syria, as well as the current military actions which target Ukraine.
On Jan. 10, the first round of talks between the United States and Russia took place. The meeting, in which Deputy State Secretary Wendy Sherman and Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Rybakov represented their respective nations, concerned the ongoing tensions in Ukraine.
The talks were commented on by White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki who declared that Russia was responsible for the current tensions in Eastern Europe and that only Russia could de-escalate them. Psaki also said that according to U.S. President Joe Biden, Russia had two choices: diplomacy or escalation. She believed that the withdrawal of troops from Ukraine’s border would show that Russia had chosen diplomacy.