After reports of mobilizing troops to its border, now Russia has deployed a missile system to Crimea’s Dzhankoy air base, less than 25 miles from its border with Ukraine.
Images from the same location on Nov. 10 showed that the site was under construction, and images from April 2018 showed the site entirely empty. The images suggest that planning for the site had been underway for several months.
— News Time Update (@newstimeupdate) December 2, 2018
Russia’s mobile S-400 missile system is capable of hitting targets up to nearly 250 miles away and as high as 19 miles.
Video below shows the missile systems traveling on a highway in Crimea en route to the air base.
Across the Kerch Strait, Russia conducted a test of their missile defense systems in the Astrakhan region on Friday.
A statement by Russia’s Southern Military District said, “Military personnel underwent special training at the air defense training center in the Krasnodar Territory,” according to Newsweek.
The training consisted of exercises that simulated airborne attacks, with defense missiles striking “about 50 aerial targets.”
The missile defense system deployment takes place a week after Russia aggressively attacked Ukraine vessels in the Sea of Azov.
Russia decided to block Ukraine’s passage in the Kerch Strait, a waterway frequently used by both countries.
Russia rammed a Ukrainian Navy tugboat, fired on two other Ukrainian Naval boats, and seized all three – including 23 sailors.
Ukraine also alleges that Russia shot two missiles at Ukrainian vessels, using a Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jet.
Vasyl Hrytsak, head of Ukraine’s security service, said, “One of the Russian strike aircraft used two unmanned combat missiles against the Ukrainian boats, heavily wounding one of the SBU officers.”
The injured officer was one of the sailors detained by Russia in the conflict.
Yet in a statement issued last week, Russia blamed Ukraine for “deliberately ignor[ing] the rules of peaceful passage in the territorial sea of the Russian Federation.”
“It is emphasized that the Ukrainian leadership bears full responsibility for the creation of another conflict situation and the associated risks. All this is clearly undertaken in view of the election campaign in Ukraine,” the statement added.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has demanded the release of the Ukrainian vessels and sailors, despite the fact that Ukraine is not a member of NATO.
“Russia recently seized Ukrainian ships and sailors near the Kerch Strait. There is no justification for this use of force. We call for calm and restraint. Russia must release the Ukrainian sailors and ships,” Stoltenberg said on Sunday, according to Radio Free Europe.
Ukraine also tested its own missile defense systems, deployed troops to its border, and flew military aircraft along the coast near where the incident occurred.
Serhiy Nayev, a Ukrainian military commander, said the “presumed enemy is Russia.”
He added, “We don’t have any other enemies.”
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko announced Monday that reservists have been activated for training, as the country is bolstering its defenses in the face of the Russian threat, the Associated Press reported.