Thu, 01 Dec 2016 08:37 UTC
"The launches have already begun, so everything is going according to plan," Vladimir Kryzhanovsky, the head of the southern branch of the Ukrainian military's press-service said on Thursday, as cited by TASS news agency.
He noted that the missiles will come as close as 30 kilometers to Crimean airspace.
Meanwhile, Russian ships from the Black Sea Fleet have taken up positions to the west of the Crimean Peninsula to provide air defense over Russian territory, RIA Novosti news agency reports, citing sources in the military.
Ukraine announced that it would be conducting missile-firing exercises close to Crimea in areas used by civil and state aviation flights earlier this week, warning that they would not be safe for flights. Later, it declared that adjacent areas, partly over neutral waters and partly over Russia's territorial waters in the Black Sea to the southwest and southeast to Crimea, would also be dangerous.
The Russian aviation agency said that Kiev's drills breach a number of international laws and agreements, noting that they had not been coordinated with Moscow.
Russia asked the authorities in Kiev to abstain from the exercises, but received no response, Russian transport minister Maksim Sokolov said earlier today, while noting that Moscow had also requested that the International Civil Aviation Organization declare Crimean airspace a danger zone, but that also went unanswered.
Comment: See also: Russian air defense forces in Crimea on high alert following Ukraine's missile launches in Black Sea
Update: Russian Transport Ministry has sent a letter to ICAO on Kiev's plans to conduct missile tests near Crimea
"There has been no response yet," he said.
Sokolov has sent a letter to the president of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) on the situation with Ukraine's plans to carry out missile tests in the airspace near Crimea.
"Yesterday, I sent a formal letter to ICAO President, Mr. Aliu. Naturally, it has been received by our ICAO office, Novgorodov (Russia's representative in the ICAO - TASS). We have taken all necessary countermeasures," the minister told reporters.
Meanwhile, according to Russian Deputy Transport Minister Valery Okulov, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has not responded to Russia's proposal to adopt a resolution concerning dangerous zones in Russia's airspace. "We have proposed that ICAO adopt a resolution, but there has been no response yet," he noted.
Russia May Shoot Down Ukrainian Missiles Launched Near Crimea if Threatened
It was indicated in the Russian Defense Ministry's note, protesting Ukraine introducing illegal restrictions on the use of airspace over the Black Sea during December 1-2 missile firing drills held by Kiev.
Peskov confirmed the possibility of applying the air defense forces to the Russian Vedomosti newspaper on Wednesday.
Earlier on Wednesday, Peskov told reporters that Russia would not like to see Ukraine breach international law and threaten international flight safety with planned missile launches west of the Crimean peninsula coastline.