Russia Launches Air Exercises near Finland

The Russian air force kicked off a major live-fire air exercise near the border with Finland with nearly 50 fighter and strike aircraft this week, reported the state-run RIA Novosti. Meanwhile, Vice President Joe Biden “strongly condemned the violation of the ceasefire by separatist forces acting in concert with Russian forces” in Ukraine, speaking with the country’s President in a call on Tuesday, according to a Whitehouse statement. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, likewise called on Russia to “end its support for the separatists and to withdraw its forces and military equipment from eastern Ukraine in accordance with the Minsk agreement,” Reuters reported. Sukhoi Su-34 strike aircraft and Mig-29 fighters are reportedly launching “guided-missiles” as part of the week-long exercise outside St. Petersburg in the country’s northwest, according to the press report.