Russia in spat with Ukraine over Crimea missile test

Moscow has protested against plans by Ukraine to carry out missile tests near Crimea, raising the diplomatic temperature between the two countries.

Russia’s aviation agency, Rosaviatsia, said Ukraine had notified it of tests to be carried out in “Russia’s sovereign air space” on 1 and 2 December in the Simferopol area.

The Russian defence ministry said it had presented the Ukrainian military attache with a note of protest in response.

It said the airspace involved, over Crimea’s west coast, “violates territorial seas of the Russian Federation”.

But in a statement on his official website, Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council Secretary, Oleksandr Turchynov, said his country was following protocol.

“Ukraine carries out the missile tests within the framework of all the international obligations and treaties,” he said.

“That’s why we ask Russia not to hinder the tests by its hysterics and provocations.”

Mr Turchynov also said that Ukraine was free to conduct military tests anywhere in its airspace, including Crimea.

He added that Ukraine was not planning to carry out the training launches over the Kerch Strait, which separates Russia and Crimea.

The spat raises the diplomatic temperature between the two after Russia annexed Crimea in March 2014 following a referendum.

Western nations responded by imposing sanctions against leading Russian companies such as limiting access to debt markets.

The planned missile tests by Ukraine come as Russia builds up its military presence in Crimea.

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