Russia launches major military exercise between Black and Caspian Seas

The Russian Defense Ministry announced Monday that a long-planned major military exercise — called Caucasus 2016 —  involving annexed Crimea on the Ukraine border and Russia's Black Sea and Caspian fleets – had got underway. He said that 12,500 troops would take part including also armored units, infantry and paratroopers. DEBKAfile: The 10-day maneuver’s start is tied to the failure of Presidents Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin to reach agreement on the Syrian crisis. The exercise will take place under the command of Col. Gen. Alexander Dvornikov, head of the Russian southern military district and, until a month ago, commander of Russian forces in Syria.

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