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Wednesday 17 September 2014

Russia starts air force drills

Published 04/08/2014 | 13:55

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Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine have been battling the Kiev government since April (AP)

Russia's air force has started military drills in central and western regions of the country, a move which could spark further fears that Moscow is ready to flex its military muscle in neighbouring Ukraine, the Interfax news agency has said.

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The drills will continue until Friday, air force chief Igor Klimov was reported as saying, and will involve more than 100 fighter jets and helicopters.

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine have been battling the Kiev government since April, a conflict that has claimed at least 1,129 civilian casualties, according to a UN estimate.

Ukraine and Western countries have accused Russia of providing the rebels with equipment and expertise, a claim that the Russian government has repeatedly denied.

Russia's Ministry of Defence could not be reached for comment.

Press Association

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