Preparing for war: Putin ‘orders immediate test of troops’ combat readiness’ as 10,000 Muslim supporters of Ukraine’s new government clash with pro-Russian group in Crimea

Wednesday, February 26, 2014
By Paul Martin

26 February 2014

President Vladimir Putin has reportedly ordered an immediate test of combat readiness of troops in central and western Russia.

Russia’s defence minister Sergei Shoigu is reported as saying Putin ordered the test at 2pm Moscow time on Wednesday.

Violence has also broken out in Ukraine’s eastern Crimea region as Muslim supporters of the new government clash with pro-Russian demonstrators.

Over 10,000 Muslim Crimean Tatars rallied in support of Ukraine’s interim leaders, waving Ukrainian flags and chanting ‘Ukraine is not Russia’ and ‘Allahu Akbar’.

However fist-fights broke out after police struggled to keep them separate from a smaller pro-Russian rally nearby.

The tensions in Crimea – a peninsula jutting into the Black Sea that is home to Russia’s Black Sea Fleet – highlight the divisions that run through this country after months of protests that ousted pro-Russia President Viktor Yanukovych.

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