Ukraine began its two-day military drill over the Black sea on 1 December 2015, putting Russia in a combat mode. The drill involves testing of surface-to-air missiles.
This missile test drill is the first-ever for Ukraine. The testing location is extremely close to the Russian- annexed region of Crimea, which has escalated tension between the two nations.
• The drill was conducted in the Kherson region, on the coast of the Black Sea.
• It involved S-300 medium-range missiles.
• In total, sixteen missiles were launched and all of them reached their targets.
• Although the missiles came within 18 miles of the Crimean airspace, Ukraine’s military assured that this exercise will pose no danger to the residents of Crimea.
The main purpose of the drill is to build Ukraine's air defence. While Russia has sent several letters to Kiev protesting against the drill, calling it a violation of the International law and Sovereignty of Russia, Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko maintained that the tests are taking place in full accordance with the International law.
However, Ukraine is prepared for any kind of development and Russia has already positioned its warships off Crimea’s western coastline and has threatened to shoot down any missile that enters the Crimean airspace.
Annexation of Crimea
• Crimea was formerly a part of Ukraine.
• In 2014, masked Russian troops captured the Supreme Council of Crimea and other significant places, which eventually led to the installation of a pro-Russian government in Crimea.
• Then in a referendum in March 2014, a large majority of Crimean voters favoured separation from Ukraine and chose to return to the Russian Federation.
• UN, however, called the referendum invalid and passed a resolution asking all International and State organisations not to recognise Russian annexation of Crimea.
• Russian President Vladimir Putin defends the move and opposes the ‘annexation’ tag.