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Russian Forces In Crimea on High Alert Ahead Of Ukraine's Planned Missile Tests

November 30, 2016

Russia's state-run TASS news agency reports that Russian air-defense forces in Crimea have been placed on high alert on the eve of planned Ukrainian missile tests near the Black Sea peninsula.

Moscow has protested the tests planned for December 1-2 near Crimea, which Russia seized from Ukraine in March 2014.

Russia's Foreign Ministry on November 30 called the planned missile tests a "new large-scale provocation," saying they were aimed at "escalating the conflict between Ukraine and Russia."

On November 29, Ukraine issued an additional formal notice to airmen (NOTAM) in airspace danger zones in connection with the tests of air-to-air combat missile systems.

It said the tests will be conducted in accordance with international regulations entirely in Ukraine's airspace over the open sea.

Media reports in Ukraine quoted Defense Ministry sources as saying that Moscow had officially warned Kyiv it would respond to the missile tests with a missile attack.

But Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on November 30 that he had never heard about such warnings.

Russia illegally annexed Crimea in March 2014 and an ensuing war between Kyiv's forces and Russia-backed separatists has killed at least 9,600 people in eastern Ukraine.

Based on reporting by UNIAN, Interfax, and TASS

Source: http://www.rferl.org/a/crimea-missile- tests-ukraine-russia/28148107.html

Copyright (c) 2016. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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