VLADIMIR Putin's warships have been dispatched to Crimea's western coastline in response to the start of Ukrainian missile tests nearby, as tensions in the region reach fever pitch.
Vessels from Russia's Black Sea Fleet have taken up position near the disputed Crimean peninsula - which was illegally annexed from Ukraine in 2014 - to help strengthen the air defences.
The aggressive land grab plunged Ukraine-Russia and east-west relations to their lowest point in years and threatened a new Cold War.
Kiev began two days of missile tests today, angering Russia, which has put its air defence forces on high alert.
Moscow has warned that the war games will not disrupt international flights.
A military source in Crimea told the Reuters news agency: “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 December 1-2.
“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.
Ukrainian forces conducted 16 successful launches of S-300 medium-range surface-to-air missiles during the drills, presidential spokesman Svyatoslav Tsegolko said in a Facebook post.
“The Defense Ministry and the General Staff chief have just reported to the president on today’s drills, which were successfully completed. Sixteen Ukrainian missiles were launched. All of them have reached their targets,” Tsegolko said.
Kryzhanovsky said that there had been no response to the launches from the Russian side. He noted that the missiles will come as close as 30 kilometers to Crimean airspace. The missiles are being launched from a spot some 90 kilometers from Crimea’s shores. The Ukrainian military stressed that its current exercises pose no danger to the residents of the Crimean Peninsula.
Still, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Thursday that Ukrainian missile tests near Crimea were a "dangerous precedent," as cited by Interfax.
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.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree approving the concept of Russia's foreign policy. The document updates and revises key areas, goals, and tasks of the country's foreign policy to reflect the changes on the international arena in the past three years.
Russia's new foreign policy concept calls for the creation of a broad anti-terrorist coalition amid a global terrorist threat posed by Daesh.
"The creation of a broad international anti-terrorist coalition on a solid legal foundation, based on efficient and systematic cooperation, without political maneuvering and double-standard policies…must become a priority [for international community]."
The document says Russia considers the fight against international terrorism as "a very important state task."
The document also says that Russia stands for the peaceful settlement of the Syrian conflict, the country's territorial integrity, independence and unity.
'Truth in news' citizen offers $10,000 reward for names of PropOrNot news hoaxers behind the WashPo Russian conspiracy fabrication
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