Russia announces snap live-fire drills in the Black Sea today as first US warship is expected to arrive and pro-Kremlin mouthpiece warns war is 'inevitable' amid soaring tensions on Ukraine border

 The Russian navy is holding snap live-fire drills in the Black Sea today as the first of two US warships is expected to arrive amid soaring tensions in the region, the country's military has said.

Two missile ships - the Graivoron and Vyshny Volochek - are taking part in sea-level and aerial target practice alongside the missile hovercraft Samum while accompanied by frigate Admiral Makarov and mine-sweeping ship Ivan Golubets, the Russian navy's Black Sea fleet command said.

The drill comes as the first of two US warships - thought to be destroyers USS Donald Cook and USS Roosevelt - is expected to arrive in the Black Sea today, despite Russian warnings to keep them away 'for their own good'.

Meanwhile Ukraine announced it was also holding its own land-based drills with infantry and tank units rehearsing their defence against an tank and troop attack along the border with annexed Ukraine. 

Tensions between the two countries remained high today as Moscow showed no sign of abating its military build-up with gunboats, artillery and armoured vehicles filmed heading towards the border - despite Joe Biden calling for Putin to 'de-escalate' during a phone call yesterday. 

Putin's spokesman Dimitry Peskov said that Russia is today 'studying' a proposal by Biden for the two leaders to hold a summit, but it is 'too early to talk about this meeting in terms of specifics.'

There are now thought to be 83,000 Russian troops stationed along the Ukrainian border alongside an array of hardware including tanks and anti-aircraft missiles, which Russia claims is being deployed for two weeks of training exercises in response to a NATO build-up - which the alliance says does not exist.

Instead, western observers believe the build-up is designed to test Joe Biden response - with German Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer saying today that Moscow is trying 'to provoke a reaction'.

'Together with Ukraine, we won't be drawn into this game,' she said.

Separately, Margarita Simonyan - editor-in-chief of Russian state-run outlets RT and Sputnik and staunchly pro-Kremlin mouthpiece - warned that war between the two nuclear-armed superpowers is 'inevitable' and encouraged Moscow to prepare itself. 

Three Russian missile ships, a frigate and a mine-sweeping vessel will take part in snap live-fire drills in the Black Sea today amid soaring tensions around the border with Ukraine

Three Russian missile ships, a frigate and a mine-sweeping vessel will take part in snap live-fire drills in the Black Sea today amid soaring tensions around the border with Ukraine


Mine-sweeping vessel Ivan Golubets (pictured right during previous live-fire drills) is one of five vessels from Russia's Black Sea fleet taking part in exercises today, the nbay has confirmed

Mine-sweeping vessel Ivan Golubets (pictured right during previous live-fire drills) is one of five vessels from Russia's Black Sea fleet taking part in exercises today, the nbay has confirmed

Russia's Black Sea fleet, based out of Sevastopol (centre) is holding today's drills while more ships are being transferred over from the Caspian Sea fleet via the Don River (top right). In response, America has sent two destroyers due to arrive today

Russia's Black Sea fleet, based out of Sevastopol (centre) is holding today's drills while more ships are being transferred over from the Caspian Sea fleet via the Don River (top right). In response, America has sent two destroyers due to arrive today

Ukrainian tanks take part in military drills near the border with Crimea as tensions continue to rise along the border

Ukrainian tanks take part in military drills near the border with Crimea as tensions continue to rise along the border

Ukraine said armour and infantry units took part in a drill designed to simulate repelling a troop and tank attack

Ukraine said armour and infantry units took part in a drill designed to simulate repelling a troop and tank attack

Ukraine has said it will not hesitate to defend its territorial integrity if Russia decides to move its forces into the country

Ukraine has said it will not hesitate to defend its territorial integrity if Russia decides to move its forces into the country


Simonyan theorised that the war would not be a conventional one , but will instead be fought over information networks - with all-out cyberwarfare, nationwide blackouts, and the targeted disruption of internet services deployed as weapons.

'In conventional war, we could defeat Ukraine in two days,' Simonyan said, 'but it will be another kind of war. We'll do it, and then [the U.S.] will respond by turning off power to [the Russian city] Voronezh.' 

Simonyan encouraged Putin to shore up Russia's 'vulnerabilities' to cyber warfare while exploiting the US's 'catastrophic' educational standards in order to achieve victory.  

Speaking about today's exercises, the Russian navy said: 'In the sea, the crews of the ships will conduct single and joint test artillery fires at surface and air targets. 

'The role of a simulated enemy will be played by naval target shields. In addition to ships, airplanes and helicopters of naval aviation and air defense of the fleet will be involved in the check.' 

As the two militaries rattled sabres, diplomatic machines also sprung into action with British foreign secretary Dominic Raab due in Brussels today for NATO talks.

He will be among NATO foreign and defence ministers holding a video meeting which will be chaired by NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, and with U.S. defence and foreign ministers at NATO headquarters. 

The office of Ukrainian president Vlodomyr Zelensky also said that he had spoken with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga today who had expressed his support for Kiev amid the standoff.  

Meanwhile in Moscow, Biden's offer of a summit was being hailed as evidence that he blinked first during the standoff - with one politician saying Russia is now 'getting the respect it deserves'. 

'It was a very important step forward... news on a global scale,' said Konstantin Kosachev, the chairman of the foreign affairs committee of the Russian parliament's upper house. 

Separately, Putin's foreign policy adviser Yuri Ushakov invited John Sullivan, the U.S. ambassador in Moscow, to talks on Wednesday, the Russian foreign ministry said, according to the RIA and TASS news agencies.

Ushakov told the ambassador that Moscow would act decisively if the United States undertook any new 'unfriendly steps' such as imposing sanctions, RIA reported.

The U.S. embassy in Moscow did not immediately respond to a request for comment about those talks.

Russia has been preparing to be hit by new sanctions since Biden said last month that Putin would pay a price for alleged Russian meddling in the November 2020 U.S. presidential election. Moscow denies interfering. 

Elsewhere, Russian defence analyst Pavel Felgenhauer claimed that Putin may have ordered as many as half a million troops to the border, which would mark the largest massing of Russian arms in decades.

'The exact number of people participating is not officially indicated,' he said, before adding: 'Apparently more than half a million.'

It comes after Sergei Shoigu, Russia's defence minister, said yesterday that Russian forces massing on the border are merely there to carry out training exercises in response to NATO drills. 

'Over three weeks, two armies and three airborne units were successfully deployed to the western borders of the Russian Federation in areas for performing combat training exercises,' he said.

He added that the 'troops have shown full readiness and ability to carry out tasks to ensure the country's military security' and that the exercises would be completed 'within two weeks'.

In a news conference with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, NATO leader Stoltenberg said it was actually Russia which had built up arms in the region, calling its latest military movements 'unjustified, unexplained and deeply concerning.' 'NATO stands with Ukraine,' he added.  

Stationed alongside the Russian troops are tanks, artillery, armoured personnel carriers, anti-aircraft missile systems, landing craft and artillery boats. 

In response, the Pentagon on Tuesday confirmed that troop withdrawals from Germany approved under Trump will be cancelled and an additional 500 soldiers will be sent to the country. 

The build-up has been matched by an uptick in violence between Ukrainian government forces fighting Russian-backed rebel groups in the country's east, with another Ukrainian soldier killed on Tuesday. 

Alexey Mamchiy, 40, was killed by shrapnel from an enemy grenade which was dropped on him by a drone, according to Ukrainian media. It brings the total number of Ukrainian troops killed in the region this year to 29.

Deputy Foreign Minister Ryabkov, speaking in Moscow on Tuesday, warned the US to keep its distance from Russian forces in the Black Sea, saying the risk of unspecified 'incidents' is very high. 

Russia announces snap live-fire drills in the Black Sea today as first US warship is expected to arrive and pro-Kremlin mouthpiece warns war is 'inevitable' amid soaring tensions on Ukraine border Russia announces snap live-fire drills in the Black Sea today as first US warship is expected to arrive and pro-Kremlin mouthpiece warns war is 'inevitable' amid soaring tensions on Ukraine border Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 07:35 Rating: 5

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