Russia expands military exercises to 80,000 troops

March 19, 2015 11:50 AM

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Moscow: Russia said on Thursday it had doubled the number of troops taking part in mass drills ordered by President Vladimir Putin this week to 80,000 in a major show of strength amid tensions with the West over Ukraine.

Putin on Monday ordered drills for more than 40,000 troops in regions spanning the country, from the Arctic to the far east to the volatile southern Caucasus, and ordered nuclear bomber jets to be deployed in Crimea a year after its annexation by Moscow.

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