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Russian military manoeuvres involve 10,000 servicemen and 1,000 units of military hardwareRussian Ministry of Defence

Russian artillery forces have held a major training drill in Siberia as tensions continue to grow between Russia and the West.

The "command and staff exercises" included 10,000 Russian troops and 1,000 units of military hardware, said Col. Igor Yegorov, spokesman for the Ministry of Defence.

According to the Siberian Times, the training drills were not linked by Russian officials to the situation in eastern Ukraine or the annexation of the Crimea region.

Yegorov said the training drills were held "to assess the degree of coordination between the divisions, the performance of their command and servicemen as part of preparations to assume operational readiness, as well as their ability to operate in all kinds of situations and at any time of day and night".

He said the exercises will help to analyse the combat readiness of the servicemen as well as their combat duty, morale and psychological condition, as well as the "quality of their efforts to combat terrorism."

The missile regiments are to take part in "simulated operations to enter combat duty in different patrol and field exercise areas" as well as chemical and biological reconnaissance tasks.

Although the exercises are being held over 2,000km from Ukraine's border, they come at a time when tension is at its highest between Russia and the West since the Cold War.

Russian troops have seized three military bases in Crimea following President Vladimir Putin's annexation of the Russian-dominated region and there are now concerns Putin has set his sights on another area with a prominent Russian-speaking population, Transnistria.