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> Russian President Vladimir Putin is visiting the annexed territory of Crimea today amid heightened tensions with Ukraine. I'm Reuter's chief Russia correspondent Andrew Osborn in Moscow, where people are listening carefully to what Mr. Putin has got to say at this time of heightened tension. Ukraine has put its own troops on the highest state of combat readiness and we have observed an uptick in military activity in Crimea, and also in eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian separatists are fighting Ukrainian government forces.
Some analysts are even talking about the possibility of some kind of new Russian aggression, although Moscow itself says it has no such intentions. Ukraine says that Russia has got 40,000 troops in Crimea which must go, of course, annexed from Ukraine in 2014. And the Russian Defense Ministry said today that on Thursday it conducted a large scale military exercise, during which it practiced moving literally hardware, tanks, armored vehicles, and troops to Crimea very quickly.
This all started really last week, when Russia accused Ukraine of planning a bombing campaign in Crimea, something which Kiev has completely denied. Since then, Russian state television has broadcast at least two confessions made by alleged Ukrainian saboteurs who said that they were in Crimea there, scouting around looking for targets.
Ukraine, as I said previously, completely denies these allegations and says that Russia has made them up with the aim of merely escalating tensions so it can possibly give itself a pretext to launch some kind of new military action against Ukraine.