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Russian strategic bombers to be redeployed to Crimea amid snap check — source

March 17, 2015, 12:33 UTC+3
Russian officials have recently sharply criticised EU foreign ministers' statements on military build-up in Crimea
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© ITAR-TASS/Marina Lystseva

MOSCOW, March 17. /TASS/. Strategic missile carriers Tupolev TU-22M3 will be transferred to Crimea within the snap check that began on Monday, a source in the Russian Defense Ministry told TASS on Tuesday.

"Strategic missile carriers TU-22MS will be transferred to Crimea in the course of a surprise combat readiness inspection", the source said.

In addition to that, jet fighters and bombers will be relocated to the Kaliningrad region. "Ground troops in the Baltic region will be boosted by the Iskander missile systems of the western military region. They will be delivered by big assault landing ships of the Baltic Fleet," the source added.

To strengthen the borders in the Arctic Region two reinforced regiments and special task units of Russian airborne troops will be transferred there as part of the inspection, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

A surprise combat readiness inspection of the Northern Fleet, a number of units of the western military region and airborne troops began on Monday and will last until March 21. It involves 38,000 troops, 3,360 weapons units and military equipment, more than 55 warships and submarines and 110 aircraft and helicopters. The basic aim of the inspection is to evaluate the capability of the Northern Fleet to ensure Russia’s military security in the Arctic Region.

EU foreign ministers have recently expressed concern over military build-up in Crimea. Russian officials reacted with criticism saying Moscow can decide on military presence in Crimea as it's Russian territory.

Russian President Vladimir Putin  in an interview with the authors of a documentary about Crimea said Coastal antimissile systems Bastion were deployed to protect Crimea. Besides, the head of the Foreign Ministry's non-proliferation department last week said Russia can deploy nuclear weapons in Crimea.

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