Russia announces war games in the Black Sea and Ukraine orders military units near Crimea to increase their combat readiness, as the two countries enter heightened levels of rhetoric not seen since they fought an armed conflict over Crimea two years ago. Mana Rabiee reports.
Ukrainian jets and military units near Crimea have been ordered to increase their combat readiness. It comes as Russian President Vladimir Putin summons his security council and announces war games in the Black Sea - one day after accusing Kiev of trying to destabilize Crimea. Russia released these images saying it's thwarted armed agents from Ukraine who planned to bomb infrastructure in Crimea, and that it's dismantled a spy network inside the peninsula, as well. Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 during a protracted conflict that still lacks real peace. Moscow says clashes with Ukrainian forces over the weekend also killed two Russian personnel but Kiev denies the clashes took place and says Russia is looking for an excuse to start another war. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko wants direct talks with Putin plus western powers to ease tensions. But Putin has pledged to take counter-measures against Ukraine, saying the deadly clashes will have consequences. It's some of the most aggressive rhetoric from Moscow against Kiev since the height of the armed conflict between the two nations over eastern Ukraine two years ago. The belligerent posturing has Ukraine worried that Russia may plan to ramp up fighting in a war that had finally de-escalated -- however shaky the peace process.