Russia: Kiev plans to hold missile launches near Crimea are ‘provocation’
Russia considers plans by Kiev to hold missile launches near Crimea a “provocation” designed to prompt a tough response from Moscow, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has said.
"With regard to the so-called drills with missile launches, I want to say that this is, of course, a new large-scale provocation by the Ukrainian authorities," said Zakharova on Nov. 30, adding that the launches were designed to "anticipate a tough Russian response."
On Nov. 25 Ukraine announced that missile tests would take place in several sectors of airspace above the Black Sea to the west of Crimea on Dec. 1-2.
When Russia protested, Kiev said that the firing would take place “exclusively in the airspace of Ukraine” and would be carried out strictly in accordance with the norms of international law.
Ukraine’s actions were "aimed at escalating the conflict between Ukraine and Russia. Kiev is constantly keeping up this theme, keeping it afloat," said Zakharova.
At the same time, Zakharova said she did not rule out that Kiev was keen "to try to keep the United States by all means as its chief patron” following Donald Trump’s victory in the U.S. presidential elections.
"For this purpose, provocations are needed," she said.
Russia’s air defense forces in Crimea are ready for Ukraine’s missile launches in the Black Sea and have been put on high alert, a Crimean military source told TASS on Nov. 30.