(Orginal Source BBC
) - Russia conducted a new round of military exercises close to Ukraine’s border on Thursday involving more than 8,000 troops.
The military exercises included the use of anti-tank weapons and rocket launchers.
The military exercises take place days before the scheduled referendum in the Crimea region.
Meanwhile, a proposal for a long-term monitoring mission in Ukraine, which was created by Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, was given support by Russia - a positive step-forward. Important details are still being discussed and planned.
United States Secretary of State John Kerry said “serious steps” would be taken against Russia if the referendum were to pass.
Kerry is scheduled to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in London on Friday to discuss the ongoing crisis.