Battle for Mosul
Russia has said that the rocket exercises by Ukraine are breaching international law.REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani

Ukraine on Thursday fired missiles near the Russia-occupied Crimean peninsula, which has prompted the Russian navy near the warship launch pads to high alert, according to Russian media reports.

Ukrainian authorities, however, dismissed the reports of threats and said that the rocket firing was just a drill. Reports state that Kiev had already warned that such exercises would impact the safety of the nearby airspace. However, Moscow is now saying that the testing exercises are affecting Russian territory too.

The head of the southern branch of Ukraine's military, Vladimir Kryzhanovsky, said: "Everything is going according to plan. The purpose of the exercise is to gain experience in using these anti-aircraft missile systems. It's to check the quality of the rockets as well as to improve the skills of the anti-aircraft troops."

Kryzhanovsky said that there has been no response to the rocket launches by Russia yet. The chief admitted that the rockets were launched almost as close as 20 km to the frontline of the border.

However, Russia has said that these rocket exercises are breaching international law. Russian transport minister Maksim Sokolov said that several requests for the Crimean airspace to be declared a danger zone has been unanswered by Ukraine. Crimea was annexed by Russia in 2014 and the annexation was preceded by a military intervention by Russia in the Crimean peninsula.

The Russian defence minister has now submitted a complaint to the Ukrainian embassy saying the nation had conducted illegal drills by using the Russian airspace. Russian warships near the Crimean peninsula have taken a defencive position now, military sources told Russian news agency RIA Novosti.

"Black Sea Fleet warships have taken position off the west coast of Crimea for Ukraine's missile launch drills," military officials said.

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