Russia deploys warships near Crimea for Ukrainian missile tests

Warships from Russia’s Black Sea Fleet have taken up position off Crimea’s western coastline to help strengthen the peninsula’s air defences.

This is in response to the start of Ukrainian missile tests nearby, a media report said.

Kiev, capital of Ukraine, began two days of missile tests on Thursday, angering Russia, which has put its air defence forces on high alert, saying it hoped the war games would not disrupt international flights.

“Warships of the Black Sea Fleet have taken up positions near Crimea’s western coast for the duration of Ukraine’s planned missile tests from Dec. 1 to Dec 2.

“The ship’s air defence units have been put on a higher state of alert. Their equipment is designed in the first instance to shoot down heavy anti-ship missiles and cruise missiles.

“Together with land-based air defence units on the peninsula, the ships have thrown up a practically impenetrable shield against the enemy’s rockets,’’ a military source in Crimea told newsmen.

Vladimir Krizhanovsky, a Ukrainian military official, earlier said that the exercises had begun adding that everything was going smoothly.

“The tests are being carried out in accordance with international law,’’ Krizhanovsky said.

He said that the tests were taking place at least 30 kilometres from Crimean air space.

“Therefore, it would be wrong to reproach Ukraine,’’ he said.

Report says Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.