World / Europe

Russia to beef up military presence in Crimea

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-09-17 10:20

MOSCOW - Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Tuesday that the deployment of troops in the Crimean direction has become a priority of the Southern military district.

"Military-political situation at the southwestern strategic direction has changed dramatically since the start of the year due to Crimea's accession into Russia," Shoigu told the ministry's board meeting.

The minister also mentioned the complicated situation in Ukraine and the increasing foreign military presence "in the direct proximity" of the Russian borders.

"That situation corrected everyday work of the district commanders," the Interfax news agency quoted Shoigu as saying.

He said the military group in Crimea must become "self-sufficient and full-fledged."

Crimea was included into the zone of responsibility of the Southern military district following the peninsula's incorporation into Russia in mid-March. Crimea and the city of Sevastopol together make up Russia's newest federal districts, which were not recognized by Ukraine and the West.

The ministry's meeting also discussed the plans of the Southern district's work until 2020.

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