Russia launches military maneuvers in the southwest

Russia's military is holding maneuvers of air defense forces in the southwest of the country, the latest in a series of frequent drills amid tensions with the West.

The Southern Military District, where the exercises will take place, includes the regions bordering Ukraine and the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia annexed last year. But the military didn't say exactly where the maneuvers will be held.

The Defense Ministry said Thursday the exercises would last for more than a month and involve more than 2,000 troops and 500 weapons systems, including air defense missiles.

The West accuses Russia of backing the insurgency with troops and weapons, accusations the Kremlin denies. The Defense Ministry again rejected U.S. claims of a Russian troop presence in eastern Ukraine.