A Russian Armed Forces group comprising 96 divisions, military units and organizations has been established on the Crimean peninsula, Russian Defense Minister Gen. Sergei Shoigu told a meeting of the Defense Ministry's board on Monday.
"The president ordered us to deploy a self-sufficient joint group of forces on the Crimea peninsula able to reliably defend the national interests of the Russian Federation in this region. This task had been accomplished by the end of 2014. The supreme commander-in-chief was informed of that. All in all, 96 divisions, military units and organizations were formed," Shoigu said.
"The recently established group both protects Russia's interests in the Black Sea and on the territory of the Crimean Federal District and helps successfully tackle tasks in off-shore maritime areas," the minister said.
"Last year, forces comprising six ships of the Black Sea, Northern and Baltic Fleets maintained the Russian Navy's permanent presence in the Mediterranean Sea," Shoigu said.
"Full-fledged combat training of the Crimean group's Air Force has been arranged, and standby air defense units have been increased," he said.
"The construction of barracks, residential premises, ammunition depots and warehouses continues on the territory of five garrisons. Existing facilities are being overhauled," Shoigu said.
"Today we will have to determine our further measures to enhance the combat capabilities of this group of forces and help it stay on standby in order to maintain security in the Crimean Federal District," Shoigu said.
"I would like to note that the first conscription campaign for the Russian Armed Forces will be held in Crimea and Sevastopol this spring. Around 500 conscripts will serve in Armed Forces units, including those stationed on the territory of the Crimean peninsula," the ministry said.
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