Russia Protests Planned Ukraine Missile Training over Crimea
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Russia's defense ministry on Friday presented the Ukrainian military attaché with a note of protest in reaction to Ukraine's plans to conduct training launches of missiles over Crimea next week.
The Russian defense ministry said in a statement that the note handed to the Ukrainian attaché says that Russia protests the missile exercises scheduled for Dec. 1 and Dec. 2 because the airspace of the planned launches, over Crimea's west coast, "violates territorial seas of the Russian Federation”, AP reported.
Meanwhile, Russia’s Federal Air Transport Agency Rosaviatsia released a statement, saying that Kiev’s move is “in violation of all international agreements.” It added that the training launches had not been coordinated with Moscow, and would violate Russia’s sovereign airspace.
In Kiev, Oleksandr Turchynov, chairman of the Ukrainian Security and Defense Council, said late Friday that Ukraine is not planning to conduct the training launches over the Kerch Strait, which separates Russia and Crimea.
But Turchynov added that Ukraine is free to conduct military maneuvers anywhere in its airspace, including Crimea.
The new development can further escalate already tense tensions between the two countries. Relations between Moscow and Kiev heightened after the Crimean Peninsula rejoined Russia in a referendum in March 2014.
The ties deteriorated further after Kiev started a military crackdown in the two mainly Russian-speaking regions of Luhansk and Donetsk in the east, where there is a push for greater autonomy from Ukraine.
According to the United Nations, some 10,000 people have lost their lives and over 21,000 others have been injured in the conflict since April 2014.