Thursday, December 1, 2016

Russia outraged over Ukraine's Crimean test missiles

Russia's Federal Air Transport Agency (Rosaviatsia) has strongly objected to what it says is Ukraine's attempts to encroach on Russian sovereign airspace after the latter warned of impending ballistic missile tests over the Black Sea region near Crimea later this week.

The agency said in a statement that Ukraine had informed it, via a NOTAM, that it would be conducting the tests on December 1 and 2 within a zone of airspace within the Simferopol Flight Information Region (FIR) which is under de-facto Russian control.

"It is obvious that the Ukrainian side is pushing extremely provocative, politically motivated acts to beyond the bounds of reasonable engagement," Rosaviatsia said. "Global civil aviation is based on the principles of absolute priority of safety first, rather than political expediency."

Although Moscow has since lodged a diplomatic complaint with Kiev, Ukraine has dismissed them stating that it is simply exercising its territorial rights and that it has followed all international conventions. Kiev still lays claim to the Crimean peninsula despite its unilateral annexation by Russia in early 2014.

"Ukraine carries out the missile tests within the framework of all the international obligations and treaties," Ukraine's National Security and Defence Council Secretary, Oleksander Turchinov, said. "That's why we ask Russia not to hinder the tests by its hysterics and provocations."

Rosaviatsia has since said that despite Ukraine's assertions, flights over the Crimea are in no danger and that airspace over the peninsula will not be closed. The only airlines currently serving Simferopol on a scheduled basis include Aeroflot, Alrosa Aviakompania, Orenburzhye, Red Wings (Russia), S7 Airlines, Ural Airlines, VIM Airlines, and Yamal Airlines.

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