November 26, 2016 / 9:27 AM / 4 years ago

Ukraine's missile test plans near Crimea heat up row with Russia

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko attends a news conference following a EU-Ukraine summit in Brussels, Belgium, November 24, 2016. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

MOSCOW/KIEV (Reuters) - Moscow protested against Ukraine’s plans to carry out missile tests near Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014 following the toppling of a pro-Russian Ukrainian president, raising the temperature in the dispute between the two countries.

Russian aviation agency Rosaviatsia said late on Friday it has received a notification from Ukraine on missile tests in “Russia’s sovereign air space” on December 1 and 2 in the region of Simferopol in Crimea.

Russia’s Defence Ministry handed over a protest note to the Ukrainian defense attache, while Oleksander Turchinov, Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council Secretary, dismissed Moscow’s claims that Kiev had breached international agreements.

“Ukraine carries out the missile tests within the framework of all the international obligations and treaties. That’s why we ask Russia not to hinder the tests by its hysterics and provocations,” he said in a statement on his official website.

Western nations took punitive measures against Russian individuals close to President Vladimir Putin and imposed sanctions, such as limiting access to debt markets, against leading Russian companies after the annexation of Crimea.

Ukraine’s planned missile tests come against a backdrop of Moscow is building up its military presence in Crimea.

Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin and Alexei Kalmykov; Additional reporting by Gleb Stolyarov; Editing by Alexander Smith

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