Russia says it scales down war games amid pandemic

International

Russian army officers wearing face masks to protect against coronavirus walk in St.Petersburg, Russia, Tuesday, May 19, 2020. Russia has continued to see a steady rise of new infections, and new hot spots have emerged across the vast country of 147-million people that ranks the second in the world behind the United States in the number of coronavirus cases. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia’s foreign minister said Tuesday that Moscow has scaled down its military drills amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Sergey Lavrov said that the Russian military also has decided not to conduct any war games near the country’s borders with NATO member nations during the outbreak.

Russia-West relations have sunk to post-Cold War lows after the 2014 Russian annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula and Moscow’s support for a separatist insurgency in eastern Ukraine.

Moscow has repeatedly voiced concern over the deployment of NATO forces in the Baltics, describing it as a threat to its security. Russia and the alliance also have blamed one another for conducting destabilizing military exercises near the borders.

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