Ukraine starts 10-day drills, mirroring Russian exercises in Belarus

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KYIV, Feb 10 (Reuters) - Ukraine begins previously announced military exercises on Thursday in response Russian drills in neighbouring Belarus, which Kyiv and the West have interpreted as part of Russia's military escalation in the region.

Russia launches the active phase of its vast military exercises in Belarus on Thursday, a display of strength that shows how Moscow's tightening grip on Minsk has given it enhanced capabilities in its standoff with the West over Ukraine. read more

Russia's joint Allied Resolve drills, which NATO has described as its biggest deployment to ex-Soviet Belarus since the Cold War, run until Feb. 20 and are seen as part of Russian deployments near Ukraine that have stirred fears of an invasion.

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Russia denies any such plan.

Ukraine's defence minister, Oleksii Reznikov, said this week Ukrainian training would also run from Feb. 10 to Feb. 20 and the armed forces would drill with Bayraktar drones and anti-tank Javelin and NLAW missiles provided by foreign partners. read more

Ukraine has not reported the number of military personnel and weapons involved in its exercises.

The White House said on Wednesday that Russia's exercises in Belarus were an "escalatory" action.

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Reporting by Pavel Polityuk Editing by Robert Birsel

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