Russia mobilised around 150,000 troops for military exercises on Monday close to St Petersburg.
Officials said the exercise was to “check the troops’ readiness for action” in case there were “crisis situations that threaten the nation’s military security.”
Meanwhile Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
met with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to
discuss the situation in Ukraine.
Lavrov rejected accusations that Russia was acting
aggressively toward Ukraine
“This is a matter of defending our citizens and our compatriots, on defending the most important human right – the right to life. Those who attempt to interpret the situation as an act of aggression and threaten us with sanctions and boycotts – these are the very same partners of ours who consistently have encouraged political forces close to them to deliver an ultimatum and refuse dialogue, to ignore the concerns of southern and eastern regions of Ukraine, which has ultimately polarised Ukrainian society,” Lavrov said.
The UN Security Council is meeting on Monday evening for emergency talks about Ukraine.
The meeting was called by Russia to set out its policy after being threatened by US and EU sanctions.