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Practical World True News Magazine

Breaking News : Russia building military base near Ukraine border

Russia building military base near Ukraine border.

Russia has started to build a huge military base housing ammunition depots
and barracks for several thousand soldiers near the Ukrainian border, a project
that suggests the Kremlin is digging in for a prolonged stand-off with Kiev.


The base, when completed, will even have its own swimming pool, skating rink
and barber shop, according to public documents. This week workmen were erecting
a fence in a cornfield outside the village of Soloti to mark out the perimeter,
and told a Reuters reporter to leave, accusing him of being an Ukrainian spy.


In almost the same spot there was a flurry of military activity in April last
year that coincided with intense fighting across the Ukrainian frontier that
lies about 25 kilometres away. A squadron of Mi-24 attack helicopters was seen
there at the time, as well as army tents and trucks.

NATO has accused Russia of using makeshift bases for sending soldiers and
hardware into Ukraine to support pro-Russian separatists fighting Kiev.

Russia denies its military is in Ukraine. The defence ministry did not reply
to written questions from Reuters about the purpose of the base it is building
and whether there was any connection to the Ukraine conflict.

According to tender documents published on the Russian government website
zakupki.gov.ru, the ministry is building the military base on a 300-hectare site
near Valuyki, a small town not far from Soloti.

The ministry intends to build nine barracks for 3,500 soldiers, warehouses
for rockets, artillery weapons, and other munitions with a total area of over
6,000 square metres.

The documents also stated there would be a large training complex, and an
infirmary for 50 beds, which can be expanded in case of "massive influx of
wounded".

They did not give the exact location of the base, but local residents in
Soloti said they believed it would be on their doorstep. "They are building a
military town," said Alexander Panchenko, a local resident whose house overlooks
farmland where preparatory work is underway for a big construction project.

A Reuters reporter saw workers at the site on Monday installing a metal fence
and paving the road to the construction site, in a large cornfield near the
village. Also there were several construction trailers, an excavator and heaps
of rubble behind the fence.

A man in Soloti, who called himself a representative of the Federal Afency
for Special Construction - which overseas construction of defence installations
- refused to talk about the work, saying only that "a secret facility" was being
built.

A builder at the site accused the reporter of being a Ukrainian spy, while
his superior stopped the reporter's car, photographed his documents and said he
would call the Federal Security Service, the main counter-intelligence agency.


The field where the work was underway is near a railway line that links
Soloti with Moscow and Luhansk, the adjacent Ukrainian region that is controlled
by pro-Moscow separatists.

Russia has pulled out of the treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe, a
post-Cold War pact that limits the deployment of troops in Europe, so it is free
to move extra troops and hardware to its western border.

According to the procurement documents, the defence ministry plans to use the
base to train soldiers on artillery and army air defence, as well as in driving
tanks and armoured personnel carriers.

The plan includes a site for studying the tactics of the U.S. Army, which was
called a "likely enemy" in the document.

On top of that, the base will include a headquarters with a communications
node, a dining room for 2,000 soldiers, a recreation centre with the skating
rink, sports complexes with a swimming pool, tennis and badminton courts, and a
residential complex of more than 1,000 apartments.

The document, seen by Reuters, requires the completion of the first stage -
the base design and initial construction and installation works - by April 29,
2016.

Fighting between Ukrainian government forces and the separatists in Ukraine's
eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions has killed almost 8,000 people since it
flared in mid-April 2014.

The violence has almost subsided since Sept. 1 when the Ukrainian parliament
backed giving more autonomy to rebel-held areas, in line with a peace deal.

However, the truce is under threat because the sides have not fully agreed on
the withdrawal of weapons from the conflict area, and the separatists are
preparing local elections without coordination with Kiev.
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