Russia checks Crimea air defence system as Ukraine, US start Black Sea drills: Interfax

WION Web Team
Moscow Published: Jun 29, 2021, 12:39 PM(IST)

A file photo of Russian soldiers.  Photograph:( AFP )

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Russia's embassy in Washington called last week for the drills to be cancelled, and the Russian defence ministry said it would react if necessary to protect its own national security

Russia checked the readiness of its air defence system in Crimea, the peninsula it annexed from Ukraine in 2014, as Ukraine and NATO countries held military drills in the Black Sea, the Interfax news agency reported on Tuesday.

The Sea Breeze military drills follow a rise in tensions between NATO and Moscow, which said last week it had fired warning shots and dropped bombs in the path of a British warship to chase it out of Black Sea waters off the coast of Crimea. Britain rejected Russia's account of the incident.

In the military exercise in the Black Sea and southern Ukraine, more than 30 countries are taking part, despite Russian calls to cancel the drills.

Russia says Crimea is its territory, but the peninsula is internationally recognised as part of Ukraine.

Russia's embassy in Washington called last week for the drills to be cancelled, and the Russian defence ministry said it would react if necessary to protect its own national security.

Sea Breeze 2021 will last two weeks and involve about 5,000 military personnel from NATO and other allies, and around 30 ships and 40 aircraft. US missile destroyer USS Ross and the US Marine Corps will take part.

Ukraine says the main goal is to gain experience in joint actions during multinational peacekeeping and security operations.

Relations between Kyiv and Moscow plummeted after Russia seized Crimea and over Russia's support for a separatist rebellion in eastern Ukraine.

Tension rose again this year when Russia massed troops on the border with Ukraine, where some of them remain along with their equipment.

(With inputs from agencies)

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