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Ukrainian crisis: Putin orders end to military exercises

Russian President, Vladimir Putin, has ordered troops engaged in military exercises, some of which were taking place near Ukraine, to return to their bases.

Putin made this statement through his spokesman, Dmitri Peskov on Tuesday.

The drills, designed to test the troops’ combat readiness, worried Western governments after Russia poured military personnel into the Russian-majority Ukrainian region of Crimea.

“The manoeuvres, which began last week, are to end as planned,” Peskov said.

The Defence Minister, Sergei Shoigu said that military personnel were to return to their bases on March 7

He said that the exercises involved about 150,000 soldiers as well as airplanes, tanks and ships.

A report said that two Russian warships passed through the Bosporus and were on their way to the Black Sea.

It added that they were heading from the Mediterranean Sea to the Black Sea and passed through the strait.

It said that the ships were identified as the Saratov and the Yamal, adding that both are classified as landing ships and form part of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, which is based in Crimea.

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