Over the weekend and into Monday the level of military activity on the border between the Ukraine and Russian-held Crimea has spiked as Russian forces conducted military exercises in the northern part of the peninsula. Unconfirmed reports surfaced of Russian armor and other types of military hardware being massed near near Armyansk and Dzhankov, adding some validity to earlier reports that checkpoints at the administrative border with Ukraine had been blocked for a period of time on Sunday by Russian authorities in Crimea. The Ukrainians responded by stopping traffic and activity at a number of border crossings for a period of time on Sunday. Today, Ukrainian authorities report the situation at the border as being tense, yet under control.
The Russian activity appears to be part of the Northern Caucasus 2016 military exercises currently underway, however, Ukrainian authorities continue to be concerned. In the Donbas region fighting between government forces and Russian separatists over the weekend claimed the lives of three Ukrainian soldiers. Kiev is also wary of the level of activity across the entire Donbas front. Separatist forces are in the process of receiving new equipment and manpower from Russia, sparking fears of a renewed separatist offensive later this month.