Russia's military has announced it was sending strategic bombers to the annexed Ukrainian territory of Crimea and will deploy advanced missiles to its exclave of Kaliningrad.
Russian news agencies TASS and Interfax cited defense officials March 17 confirming Tu-95 and Tu-22M3 strategic bombers, capable of carrying nuclear bombs, were being sent to Crimea as part of military exercises taking place around Russia.
The officials also said Iskander missiles would be sent to the Kaliningrad region, which borders NATO members Poland and Lithuania, as part of the military maneuvers.
Iskander missiles have a range of some 500 kilometers and can be equipped with conventional or nuclear warheads.
Polish Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz said, "Russia is making this gesture before the European Council meeting. It is trying to influence European Council decisions concerning extending or adding new sanctions."