Russia carries out snap check of paratroopers in western Russia

Ukraine separtistsBaz Ratner/ReutersA truck with a multiple rocket launcher used by the separatist self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic army drives near Donetsk, February 16, 2015.

Russia’s Defence Ministry started a snap inspection of its paratrooper units in western Russia on Monday, Interfax news agency quoted the ministry press office as saying.

Russia has carried out several unannounced military drills since relations with the West deteriorated over the Ukraine crisis, with Moscow criticising what it says is a build-up of NATO forces near Russia’s borders.

Kiev and the West say some of the drills carried out in western Russia near the border with Ukraine have been used to increase pressure on Kiev and show Moscow’s support for pro-Russian separatists who took up arms in east Ukraine in April.

Interfax did not report specific troop numbers that would be drilled in Volgograd province, which is in western Russia but does not border Ukraine. The defence ministry said the paratroopers would be tested for their military readiness.

No one at the Russian Defence Ministry was immediately available for comment.

(Reporting by Thomas Grove; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

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This article originally appeared at Reuters. Copyright 2015. Follow Reuters on Twitter.

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