"Russia pays ever increasing attention to the south of Ukraine, western part of the Black Sea, the Kerch Strait and the Azov Sea and the Abkhaz coastline of Georgia and the eastern Mediterranean. To implement these objectives the Russian Federation continues to deploy a powerful group of its Armed Forces on the Crimean Peninsula, which as of May this year includes about 24,000 soldiers, 613 tanks and armored personnel vehicles, 162 artillery systems, 100 combat aircraft, 56 helicopters, 16 coastal missile systems, 30 combat surface ships and four submarines," Skibitsky said.
He stated that these figures are much higher than the group of Russian troops Russia had in Crimea before it annexed the peninsula. "In the future, it is planned to almost double the number of Russian troops in Crimea and number of weapons are in 2020-2025," the military official said.
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