Self-defense activists perform military exercises at a military training ground outside Kiev, Ukraine, Monday, March 31, 2014. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
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Ukraine's parliament on Tuesday approved a series of joint military exercises with NATO countries that would put US troops in direct proximity to Russian forces in the annexed Crimea peninsula.The decision came as NATO foreign ministers gathered in Brussels for a two-day meeting dominated by concern over the recent buildup of Russian forces near Crimea that US officials estimate had at one point reached about 40,000 troops.Those manoeuvres have in more recent years been moved to the Black Sea port of Odessa where Ukraine also has a naval base.
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