The Russian navy has announced that it will send in 15 warships to Ukraine and hold live fire drills as tensions with the US threaten to boil over into conflict.
Two missiles ships, the Graivoron and Vyshny Volochek, will join the country’s Black Sea fleet and accompany the hovercraft Samum and the Admiral Makarov frigate.
The drill comes as the first of two US warships, thought to be the USS Donald Cook and USS Roosevelt, are expected to arrive in region today, despite Russian warnings to stay away “for their own good.”
Following the announcement, the Russian navy said today: "In the sea, the crews of the ships will conduct single and joint test artillery fires at surface and air targets.
"The role of a simulated enemy will be played by naval target shields.
"In addition to ships, aeroplanes and helicopters of naval aviation and air defence of the fleet will be involved in the check."
It forms part of rising tensions in the region where Ukraine have already announced that it will hold land-based drills as Russian military equipment continues to build up on the border.
Described by an expert as facing a "wipe out blitzkrieg," Vladimir Putin has been mobilising half a million troops amid mounting fears of war.
The Russian leader has now moved tens of thousands of troops and heavy military equipment to the border with Ukraine, prompting a phone call from Joe Biden to tell the Russian leader to stand down.
The latest on-the-ground videos appear to show heavy armaments on the move in Krasnodar region and naval vessels on the Don River as the Ukraine crisis becomes increasingly hostile.
Russia is also known to be moving landing ships from the Caspian Sea to the Black Sea for the first time since the end of the Soviet era.
As a result Margarita Simonyan, editor-in-chief of Russian state-run outlets RT and Sputnik claimed a conflict is now inevitable between the US and Russia.
She said: "In a conventional war, we could defeat Ukraine in two days.
"But it will be another kind of war.
"We'll do it, and then the US will respond by turning off power to the Russian city Voronezh."
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