”No one will tell us what to do!”: Ukraine not to cancel drills near Crimea following Russian threats

Threats cannot thwart Ukraine`s plans concerning military exercises, a spokesman for the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine on ATO issues Andriy Lysenko told a Kyiv briefing Wednesday, answering a question on Russia`s alleged threats to conduct a missile strike if Ukraine pursued with its plans to hold missile exercises near the temporarily occupied territory of Crimea, an UNIAN correspondent reported.

”Ukraine is a sovereign law-governed state. All military exercises and tests are held according to a strict schedule. Everything related to international treaties and warnings is performed by Ukraine in accordance with these rules. And everything that has been scheduled will certainly be executed…” Lysenko said.

The official added that ”as for some threats, etc., this all cannot interfere with the plans that the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the designers of weapons will be implementing in the territory of a sovereign Ukraine”.

Asked to clarify how Ukraine would act in case Russia started shooting down Ukrainian missiles and engaging launchers, he stressed that ”we have a national territory of Ukraine, where we will carry out all examinations, as well as battle-tests, as well as training, and no one will tell us what to do here”.

As UNIAN reported earlier, on December 1-2, scientific research drills of the Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine are scheduled to be held in the south of Ukraine. The exercise will involve missile launches.

The Air Force said that the launches will take place exclusively within Ukrainian airspace over the open sea and be carried out in strict accordance with international law.

At the same time, media reports claim that in case Ukraine executes test missile launches in the area of the Russian-Ukrainian border in Crimea, Moscow threatens Kyiv with a retaliatory missile strike.

In a letter dated November 26, addressed by the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation to the military attach? at the Ukrainian Embassy in Russia, it is written that, if Ukraine holds such test launches, the Russian side will in the first place shoot down Ukrainian missiles. Secondly, it will engage the Ukrainian missile launchers, according to media sources.

”In a document handed over to him (Defense Attach?) the Russian Defense Ministry expressed protest regarding the introduction by the Ukrainian side of illegal restrictions on the use  December 1 and December 2, 2016 of the airspace over the Black Sea off the west coast of the Crimean Peninsula to conduct missile launches,” said the Defense Ministry of the Russian Federation.

In response, NSDC Secretary Oleksandr Turchynov has called on the Russian authorities not to panic because of missile drills in Ukraine. He stressed that the missile tests would be carried out in accordance with all international obligations and commitments in Ukraine`s sovereign airspace.

See also: Kremlin threatens with missile strike if Ukraine tests new missile system. New Russian weapon was deployed in Crimea today (Video)

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