Russia launches large-scale aviation exercises near the Ukrainian border and in annexed Crimea

The Russian Federation has launched large-scale aviation exercises for the Southern military district, involving roughly one hundred aircraft and helicopters. The Air Defense and the Black Sea Fleet forces will take part in the exercises, which are set to take place in the Rostov region, Krasnodar Krai, and annexed Crimea, the Interfax agency reports, citing the Russian Ministry of Defense. During the exercises, aircraft will land on a prepared airfield in the Rostov region and will perform bombing practice at the aviation test range in Stavropol Krai.  

Fighter aircraft and bombers of the Fleet will launch air-to-air missiles and drop bombs at the testing range called Kopanskoy in Krasnodar Krai, located 80 kilometers away from the Russian-Ukrainian border, and at the testing range Opuk on the Black Sea coast of the Kerch peninsula, which has been annexed by Russia.   

Army aviation helicopters will provide fire support for the Russian Black Sea Fleet Marine Corps’ amphibious landing on unequipped coasts.

“As part of the exercises, anti-aircraft forces stationed in the Crimea will be involved in countering rocket strikes from the ships of a hypothetical enemy from the sea,” the Russian Ministry of Defense stated.

Russia constantly rattles its saber in annexed Crimea. In March, the Russian army carried out exercises on 19 testing ranges, with some taking place along the Ukrainian border and in annexed territories. In April, Russia carried out military exercises in annexed Crimea, practicing “detection of ships of a hypothetical enemy.”

On Thursday, March 15, the UN Security Council held an Arria-formula meeting devoted to the temporary annexation of the Crimea. The majority of UN Security Council member states expressed full support of sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and pointed out the illegal actions of Russia in the Crimea.

  Russian military exercises, Crimea