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Russia To Increase 'Combat Capabilities' In Crimea, Sees Ukraine Conflict Worsening

• http://www.zerohedge.com, by Tyler Durden

Following the adoption of its new military doctrine signed by President Vladimir Putin in December which identifies NATO expansion as an external risk, it is perhaps hardly surprising that, as Reuters reports, Russia's top general, Valery Garesimov stated that the "Defence Ministry will focus its efforts on increasing the combat capabilities of its units and increasing combat strength.. with special attention will be given to the groups in Crimea." Amid renewed heavy shelling in Donetsk, NATO's top military commander noted they will be stepping up exercises in the Baltic Sea region as Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin warns, "the situation in eastern Ukraine is deteriorating."

Russia's top general said on Tuesday he would beef up combat capabilities this year in Crimea, the Arctic and the country's westernmost Kaliningrad region that borders two NATO states.

The remarks by General Valery Gerasimov, chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces, are likely to deepen concern in the West over what it sees as Russia increasingly flexing its muscles since the start of the crisis in Ukraine.