Ukraine's missile test plans near Crimea heat up row with Russia

Vladimir Soldatkin and Alexei Kalmykov, Reuters

Posted at Nov 26 2016 06:08 PM

MOSCOW/KIEV - Moscow protested against Ukraine's plans to carry out missile tests near Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014 following the toppling of a pro-Russian Ukrainian president, raising the temperature in the dispute between the two countries.

Russian aviation agency Rosaviatsia said late on Friday it has received a notification from Ukraine on missile tests in "Russia's sovereign air space" on Dec. 1 and 2 in the region of Simferopol in Crimea.

Russia's Defense Ministry handed over a protest note to the Ukrainian defense attache, while Oleksander Turchinov, Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council Secretary, dismissed Moscow's claims that Kiev had breached international agreements.

"Ukraine carries out the missile tests within the framework of all the international obligations and treaties. That's why we ask Russia not to hinder the tests by its hysterics and provocations," he said in a statement on his official website.

Western nations took punitive measures against Russian individuals close to President Vladimir Putin and imposed sanctions, such as limiting access to debt markets, against leading Russian companies after the annexation of Crimea.

Ukraine's planned missile tests come against a backdrop of Moscow is building up its military presence in Crimea. - With additional reporting by Gleb Stolyarov