Russia has started military exercises in the Southern Military District, which includes Crimea, South Ossetia, Abkhazia and Armenia, news agency RIA reported on March 12, citing Russia's Defence Ministry.
Ukrainian forces, meanwhile, also began drills very close to the line of contact with Russia. The move by the two rivals comes even as a fragile ceasefire agreement stands amid frequent complaints of violations.
Russian military drills are being conducted against both individual and group targets using the newest 2S34 Hosta self-propelled guns and 9K51M Tornado-G multiple rocket launcher systems.
A five-day training program also began in Russia's Sverdlovsk region, on the border of Europe and Asia, on Thursday where commanders of rocket forces in the Central Military District will be trained in using Iskander and Tochka systems, among others, Sputnik News reported.
"On 19 training grounds located in the Southern, North Caucasian and Crimean Federal Districts, as well as Russian military bases in Armenia, South Ossetia an [sic] Abkhazia, artillery belonging to motorized infantry brigades, formations and military bases of coastal troops will perfect their skills and their units' military coordination," the Southern Military District's press service said, according to Sputnik News.