Alarm in Ukraine as Putin puts Russian troops on alert




 
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Alarm in Ukraine as Putin puts Russian troops on alert
 
February 26th, 2014  
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Topic: Alarm in Ukraine as Putin puts Russian troops on alert


Alarm in Ukraine as Putin puts Russian troops on alert
By Alessandra Prentice and Richard Balmforth SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine/KIEV (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin put 150,000 Russian combat troops on high alert for war games near Ukraine on Wednesday, the Kremlin's boldest gesture yet after days of sabre rattling since its ally Viktor Yanukovich was toppled as president in Kiev. Moscow denied that the previously unannounced drill in the western military district near Ukraine was linked to events in its neighbor but it came amid a series of increasingly strident statements about the fate of Russian citizens and interests. With the political turmoil hammering Ukraine's economy, the central bank said it would no longer intervene to shield the hryvnia currency, which tumbled 4 percent on Wednesday and is now down a fifth since January 1. Wednesday's abrupt abandonment of Ukraine's currency peg sent ripples to Russia where the rouble fell to five-year lows and bank shares fell.

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