Vladimir Putin’s forces posted a video online showing two menacing tanks storming a breach, believed to be in Ukraine, in a show of strength, at a time of heightened tensions on Russia’s border with Europe.
The video, released by the Russian defence ministry, shows the high-tech tanks descending on the beach from a vessel more than 100 metres from the shore during the training exercise carried out by troops from the Baltic Fleet.
The tanks can be seen driving into the water before emerging onto dry land just moments later.
Alongside the menacing footage, the ministry wrote: “The crews of the Baltic Fleet landing craft carried out living firing of KPVT machine guns at sea and air targets, and landed six armoured marines at Hmelevka.”
Vladimir Putin has sent an apparent warning signal to the West after Nato troop deployments
The crews of the Baltic Fleet landing craft carried out living firing of KPVT guns at sea and air targets
Russian Ministry of Defence
Just days before, Russian President Putin launched a spot check on the country’s aerospace forces, in order to “evaluate readiness” for combat.
The feared leader has already ordered his air force to prepare for a “time of war”.
Russia’s show of military strength comes as an apparent warning to the West and Nato, who the Kremlin have accused of encircling Russia.
A joint military exercise between Russia and Belarus codenamed “Zapad-2017” or “West-2017”, will see tens of thousands of soldiers stationed along the Baltic states.
President Putin is believed to be stationing up to 100,000 soldiers in the area, with ex-Nato chief General Phillip Mark Breedlove fearing it the war games could be targeted directly toward the West.
Lithuania’s Minister of Defence Raimundas Karoblis said: “It is clear Russia want to reinstate its dominance and change the defence system in the whole of Europe.
“This is a danger for central Europe, especially the Baltic states.”
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The official stance in Moscow claims Russia is preparing to ward off foreign aggression, but with recent events in Ukraine, experts believe hostile scenarios are covertly under play.
In July 2016, Nato members agreed to the “biggest reinforcement since the Cold War”, posting four multinational battalions to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.
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As part of the operation, In January, 2,800 pieces of US military hardware, including Abrams tanks and Paladin artillery, and 4,000 troops have arrived in Europe.
The huge reinforcement continues with dozens of US Chinook, Apache and Black Hawk helicopters being shipped to the German port city of Bremerhaven, as part of Nato’s effort in Eastern Europe to counter the perceived “Russian threat”.
Last week the president of Lithuania, one of the former Soviet state that has felt vulnerable following Russia’s annexation of Crimea, said he was confident of US support on European’s eastern borders.
Delia Grybauskaite said: “We trust the US administration. We believe that all obligations will be fulfilled and we will have the same reliable Nato partner and ally as it was before.
“This is done already. We have American troops on our soil.”
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