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Ukraine holds military drills in response to Russian exercises

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KYIV (Reuters) - Ukraine has begun a large military exercise in response to the Caucasus-2020 drills in neighbouring Russia, aiming to show the preparedness of its army to repel any attack from Russian soil, the Ukrainian military said on Wednesday.

Relations between Russia, which began its strategic command and staff exercises on Monday, and Ukraine - both ex-Soviet republics - soured in 2014 when Moscow annexed the Crimea peninsula from its neighbour.

Around 12,000 servicemen and dozens of armoured vehicles were taking part in the land-based drills, part of broader exercises including naval forces in the Black Sea.

Last week, Ukraine and the United States held joint military exercises a few days after Russia began military drills together with forces in neighbouring Belarus.

Reporting by Pavel Polityuk; Editing by Mark Heinrich