188320453An airborne division based in central Russia began large-scale exercises Tuesday against the backdrop of an ongoing political and security crisis in Ukraine. The Defense Ministry said units of the 98th Guards Airborne Division, based in Ivanovo, a city east of Moscow, were put on high alert and moved to unspecified locations to “check readiness” in simulated combat conditions. Four thousand troops, 36 military transport aircraft and an unspecified number of combat vehicles are taking part in the exercises, which will run until March 14. The drills will include a massive simultaneous paradrop involving 3,500 servicemen, the ministry said. MORE