Kiev Decided to Hold Missile-Firing Exercise in Russian Airspace without Approval of Moscow

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Ukraine has announced its plans to conduct missile-firing exercises over the Crimean peninsula and the Black Sea, in the Russian sovereign airspace.

Kiev Decided to Hold Missile-Firing Exercise in Russian Airspace without Approval of Moscow

Photo: TASS / Yuri Smityuk

Ukraine has announced that missile-firing exercises will be conducted by the country over Crimea, in the Russian sovereign airspace, Russia’s Federal Air Transport Agency Rosaviatsiya reported. Kiev is going to fire missiles in regions, where civil and state aviation flights run.

In this way, Ukraine breaches a number of international laws and agreements, including annexes of the 1944 Convention on International Civil Aviation. Rosaviatsiya also reported that the military exercise, which would invade the territory of Russia, have not been coordinated with Moscow.

On Thursday, an aviation notification was released by Ukraine, according to which “dangerous zones” are being activated in all flight levels near Crimea and Simferopol city for December 1 and 2. The “dangerous zones” include airspace over Russian territorial waters and open sea, which is in Russia’s area of responsibility.

According to a statement of Rosaviatsiya, the notification has not been coordinated with the Russian authorities, and such unilateral moves demonstrate that Kiev does not want to normalize air traffic above the Black Sea. Specialists of the Federal Air Transport Agency also noted that the planned exercises are “potentially dangerous for civil aviation” and could lead to tragedies, similar to those with Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine in 2014 and with Siberia Airlines Tu-154, a Russian passenger plane, which was shot down by a missile, launched by Ukrainian military during an exercise in the Black Sea in 2001.

Both Russian and international air carriers have been informed by Russia about the planned exercises of Kiev, a representative of Rosaviatsiya told the Rossiya 24 TV-channel. He also added that Moscow is taking all measures to provide security for the flights and will be forced to ban all flights in the Crimea region if Ukraine does not change its plans.

Meanwhile, the General Staff of the Ukrainian Army refused to give any comments on this issue. However, Aleksandr Turchinov, the secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, said that “Russia’s airspace above the Black Sea ends in the middle of the Kerch Strait,” noting that Ukraine does not have any plans to perform training missile launches “in that region.”

“All the remaining territory to the west of the Kerch Strait is Ukraine’s sovereign airspace,” Turchinov said, denying the legitimacy of the 2014 referendum, after which Crimea reunited with Russia.

On Friday, a protest against Kiev’s intention to conduct the military exercises and apply restrictions to airspace above the Crimean peninsula and the Black Sea was voiced by the Russian Defense Ministry. The Ukraine’s military attaché was summoned by the ministry and received an official diplomatic note.

The day before, Rosaviatsiya also demanded the immediate cancellation of the planned actions in Russia’s sovereign airspace.

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