Putin in Crimea as Russian troops begin training exercises in the area

9,500 people have lost their lives in the disputed region since 2014

Putin in Crimea as Russian troops begin training exercises in the area

File photo: Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin is making his fifth visit to the Black Sea Peninsula since it was annexed from Ukraine in March 2014.

The conflict has claimed 9,500 lives so far and the visit comes days after Putin accused Kiev of plotting an armed incursion into the area.  

Putin plans to visit a youth forum and has already chaired a meeting of his security council, during which he hoped "common sense" would prevail in the dispute.

Today, referring to the plot, he said: "I hope that this won't be a final choice... and that common sense will prevail.

"We are not going to cut (diplomatic) ties despite the unwillingness of the current authorities in Kiev to have fully-fledged diplomatic ties at ambassador level."

With tensions running high in the region, Russian naval and ground forces began logistics training in Crimea this week, according to the Russian defense ministry. 

Putin has also cancelled scheduled international talks intended to transform Ukraine's shaky ceasefire into a more sustainable situation.

Yesterday, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said that the likelihood of an escalation in the conflict between government forces and the pro-Moscow separatists "remains very high".

Pro-Moscow fighters control two self-declared republics in Donbass, in the east of Ukraine, where fighting has continued since the conflict began in 2014.

He said that he could "not exclude a full-scale Russian invasion (of Ukraine) along all fronts" and that this could force him to introduce "martial law and a mobilisation" of reserve forces.