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Russia reinforced the group of troops deployed in the Crimea, reported the Russian Minister of Defense, Sergei Shoigú.
“The troop contingent in the Crimea was reinforced,” the Russian army general also said at an expanded meeting of the Defense Committee of the State Duma (Lower Chamber of the Russian Parliament).
Shoigú stressed that the forces stationed in the Crimea “guarantee the protection of the territory of the peninsula and the interests of Russia in the Black Sea.”
Crimea returned to Russia after holding a referendum in March 2014 in which more than 96 percent of voters endorsed this option.
The will of the Crimeans, which according to the Russian Chancellery was expressed in a democratic manner and in conformity with international law and the UN Charter, was rejected by the Ukrainian Government, supported by the EU and the United States.
On November 25, Russia captured two gunboats and a tugboat of the Ukrainian Navy with 24 crew members on board that invaded a temporarily closed sector of its territorial waters near Crimea, advanced towards the Kerch Strait carrying out a dangerous maneuver and they disobeyed Russian coastguards who tried to stop them.
Moscow described the provocative incident, with which the current Ukrainian president, Petro Poroshenko, seeks to win points for the presidential elections of March 31, 2019.
After the incident, Kiev called both the US and NATO to increase their military presence in the Black Sea, in the face of alleged Russian “aggression”.
Russia, for its part, promised that it will not allow new provocations to take place in the Kerch Strait.
Sorce: El Pais