Ukraine

Putin visits Crimea as Russian forces stage war games

Vladimir Putin has arrived in Crimea, two years after the Black Sea peninsula was annexed from Ukraine.

The visit is the Russian president's fifth to the Black Sea peninsula since it was annexed from Ukraine in March 2014, sparking a conflict that has since claimed 9,500 lives.

It comes days after he accused Kiev of plotting an armed incursion involving the bombing of targets across the Crimean peninsula in an effort to destabilise peace efforts.

Mr Putin plans to visit a youth forum and has already chaired a meeting of his security council, during which he hoped "common sense" would prevail in the dispute.

On Friday, he said: "I hope that this (the alleged plot) won't be a final choice... and that common sense will prevail.

"We are not going to cut (diplomatic) ties despite the unwillingness of the current authorities in Kiev to have fully-fledged diplomatic ties at ambassador level.

"We will nonetheless create the possibilities for contacts to develop."

It comes as Russian naval and land forces began logistics training in Crimea, according to the Russian RIA news agency, which quoted the Russian defence ministry.

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