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Ukraine Starts Black Sea Missile Tests As Russia Threatens Shootdown


Ukraine launched two days of missile tests in the Black Sea, as Russia warned it would shoot any missiles down and reportedly put air defense forces on high alert on the annexed Crimean Peninsula.

Video released by Ukraine's National Defense and Security Council showed missiles being launched from what it said were sites in the Kherson region, not far from the administrative border with Crimea.

"It is our responsibility to build air defense for Kyiv and the whole of Ukraine and no one can stop us.” President Petro Poroshenko said on December 1.

Military spokesman Volodymyr Kryzhanovsky said the exercises were taking place at least 30 kilometers from Crimea's airspace.

Kryzhanovsky said the tests were being held in accordance with international law, adding that Ukraine’s military was ready for "any developments."

Meanwhile, warships from Russia's Black Sea Fleet have taken up position off Crimea's western coastline to help strengthen the peninsula's air defenses, the RIA Novosti news agency quoted a military source in Crimea as saying.

Russia also threatened to shoot any missiles down, issuing the warning in an aviation notice ahead of the tests. However, as of December 1, there was no indication any Russian missiles had been launched.

Home to the Russian Black Sea fleet, the Crimean Peninsula was annexed by Russia in March 2014, a move not recognized by the nearly all United Nations' member states.

In September, Russia held large-scale war games across its entire southern military district, including, for the first time, Crimea.

Based on reporting by Interfax, Reuters, and TASS
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