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Pifer’s comment came as the Russian Defense Ministry had invited the Western military attachés to observe the large-scale military exercises in the Southern Military District of Russia.

“Transparent Russia effort to get Western diplomats to Crimea, which some in Moscow would then claim constituted ‘recognition’,” Pifer tweeted.

As UNIAN reported earlier, the Caucasus-2016 military exercises are being held in the Southern Military District of Russia in accordance with the plan of the Armed Forces, for the period between September 5 and September 10, under the supervision of the Chief of General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, First Deputy Minister of Defense of Russia, Army General Valery Gerasimov.