Russia, Ukraine beef up security amid tensions

Aug 12, 2016, 3:07 AM EDT
Russian troops
(Source: Marko Vucicevic/flickr)

Following Russia’s allegations that Ukraine is attempting to provoke a conflict in the contested peninsula of Crimea, the two countries scaled up their security arrangements in the region on Thursday. While the Russian Navy announced war games in the Black Sea, Ukraine put its troops on combat alert. Russia’s aggressive posture has set the alarm bells ringing for Ukraine, which fears that the flare-up might reignite a war between Kiev and pro-Russian eastern separatists.

Russian President Vladimir Putin held a meeting with top officials of military and intelligence services to discuss measures for strengthening security along the land border, offshore and in Crimean airspace, reports Reuters.

Ukraine’s envoy to the U.N. accused Russia of levying false allegations against his country, writes the BBC. Kiev says Moscow’s allegations are a pretext to escalate hostilities in Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in 2014 after an unrecognized referendum.

Observers also believe that the belligerent rhetoric may be an attempt to stoke nationalist passions ahead of Russian parliamentary elections next month. The U.S. expressed concerned over the turbulent situation in the region and called on both sides to refrain from rhetoric.