Russia holds snap military drills in Caspian Sea: report

MOSCOW Wed Apr 23, 2014 1:38am EDT

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MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's navy launched snap military exercises involving its fleet in the Caspian Sea, Interfax reported the Defense Ministry as saying on Wednesday.

The drill will last seven days and involve around 10 naval vessels and 400 sailors. The Caspian Sea is bordered by Iran, Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan, and the region is crisscrossed by oil and natural gas pipelines.

Russia has boosted the number of snap military drills since tensions have risen with neighbor Ukraine.

NATO has said Russia's military exercises in its western military district have boosted its troop presence to around 40,000 near the border with Ukraine, where Moscow-backed President Viktor Yanukovich fled from power in February.

(Reporting by Thomas Grove; Editing by Christian Lowe)

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