Ukraine To Go Ahead With Missile Tests In Black Sea, Russia Puts Forces In Occupied Crimea On Alert

November 30, 2016
Image by Alex Kokcharov (@alexkokcharov)

Ukraine Day 1017: LIVE UPDATES BELOW.

Yesterday’s live coverage of the Ukraine conflict can be found here.


An Invasion By Any Other Name: The Kremlin’s Dirty War in Ukraine


Ukraine Suffers Military And Civilian Casualties In The Donbass

One Ukrainian soldier was killed and two wounded yesterday in the Donbass. This morning, a Ukrainian volunteer fighter was killed and a civilian wounded.

Colonel Andriy Lysenko, spokesman for the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, told reporters today that one soldier had been killed in the village of Kamenka, northeast of Donetsk, and two wounded near Novozvanovka, in the west of the Lugansk region. The deputy governor of the Lugansk region, Yuriy Klimenko, reported that a third soldier had suffered a concussion in Novozvanovka.

Earlier today, the commander of the 1st independent assault company of Pravyi Sektor’s [Right Sector’s] Volunteer Corps (DUK), Dmitry Kotsyubaylo, reported on Facebook that one of his fighters, Eduard Zebin, had been killed by a mine this morning.

And later, just before noon, the Donetsk police reported that a 49-year-old civilian man had been hospitalized with shrapnel wounds after Russia-backed forces shelled Avdeyevka, north of Donetsk, at around 6 this morning.

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2016-11-30 17:34:34

According to the police, two homes were damaged on Lermontov and Kirov Streets, on the southeastern fringes of the town, near the front-line industrial park.

According to the Ukrainian military, Russia-backed forces conducted 31 attacks yesterday, with another 17 reported between midnight and 18:00 today.

— Pierre Vaux
Ukraine To Go Ahead With Missile Tests In Black Sea, Russia Puts Forces In Occupied Crimea On Alert

The Ukrainian military will go ahead with missile tests in the Black Sea on Thursday and Friday, despite protests and reported threats from Russia.

Roman Yurchilo, head of the Ukrainian military press office, told Interfax-Ukraine that medium-range, guided surface-to-air missiles will be tested as part of a wider exercise involving air-defense forces, radar and communications assets and unmanned aircraft.

Earlier today Zerkalo Nedeli reported, citing sources in the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, that they had received a letter from their Russian counterparts, threatening military retaliation for the tests.

According to the report, the letter, dated November 26, said that Russia would first shoot down the missiles, which are to be launched in the Kherson region, near the frontier with Russian-occupied Crimea. 

Even more dramatically, the letter reportedly stated that Russian missiles would then strike the Ukrainian missile launchers.

This afternoon Interfax reported that Dmitry Peskov, President Vladimir Putin’s press secretary, claimed that he had no knowledge of such threats from the Russian MOD, telling reporters:

“I can’t answer your question. To speak honestly, this is the first time I’ve heard about this, I’ll have to check.”

But Peskov then added that Russia did not “want to allow any acts by Ukraine that could create dangerous conditions for international services in Russian airspace.”

Russian state media are now reporting that missile defense systems, both ashore in occupied Crimea and aboard ships of the Black Sea Fleet, have been placed on high alert.

AFP reports that Colonel Andriy Lysenko, spokesman for the Ukrainian MOD, told reporters today:

“With regard to some threats and the like, they cannot interfere with the plans of the armed forces of Ukraine and the designers of military weapons which will be carried out on the territory of a sovereign Ukraine,” Lysenko said at a briefing on Nov. 30 commenting on media reports about the threats by the Russian Defense Ministry to launch a missile strike if Ukraine holds exercises near Crimea.

According to him, Ukraine is an independent state, and all the military exercises and tests will be held according to the plan.

“We have a national territory of Ukraine, where we will carry out all the tests and drills and no one will tell to us what to do here,” the Defense Ministry’s spokesman said.

Lysenko said Ukraine is acting in compliance with all the international agreements.

This evening the chairman of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, Oleksandr Turchynov, claimed that yesterday’s announcement from the Russian defense minister, Sergei Shoigu, that two motor-rifle divisions, in the Belgorod and Voronezh regions, were being redeployed closer to the Russian border, may be linked to the threats as part of a “provocation.”

— Pierre Vaux