The antiaircraft missile regiment based in Crimea has received an S-400 Triumf air defense missile system that will be used in the upcoming Caucasus-2016 strategic maneuvers, the press office the Southern Military District reported on Friday.
“The antiaircraft missile regiment of the 4th Air Force and Air Defense Army of the Southern Military District based in the Republic of Crimea has received a modern S-400 Triumf air defense missile system for operation,” the press office said.
Vladimir Serdyuk, an employee of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry’s Main Intelligence Directorate, was the organizer of a sabotage operation in Crimea, a source in the Russian special services said on Friday.
“Captain Vladimir Serdyuk, chief of the intelligence unit of the 37th battalion of the 56th brigade of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry’s Main Intelligence Directorate, was the organizer of the planned subversive actions in Crimea,” the source said.
According to Russia’s intelligence services, Serdyuk came to Ukraine’s Kherson region (north of Crimea) just before planning to get three subversive groups into Crimea to coordinate their actions and ensure their retreat after carrying out the acts of sabotage.
An ongoing Russian military build-up on Ukraine’s borders may indicate preparations for conventional military conflict. It certainly marks a dramatic escalation of tensions that will have significant repercussions in Ukraine. Russia has deployed additional military forces and systems to Ukraine’s northern, eastern, and southern borders. Russian military activity around Ukraine has increased since May 2016 when Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced the creation of three new divisions in the Western and Southern Military Districts. The current crisis escalated following August 8th when Russia accused Ukrainian special-forces of attempting to infiltrate Crimea on August 7th. Russia has used the allegation to engage in a rapid military buildup on the peninsula and in the separatist regions of Donbas. In a five-day period August 7-12th, Russia has deployed additional naval and air units, ground forces and military hardware, as well as the S-400 air defense system on August 12th. Russia also conducted provocative exercises in Transnistria on Ukraine’s western border. These new deployments constitute a significant expansion of Russia’s force projection capabilities and may signal preparations for a large-scale military conflict. Russia’s current force posture allows it to threaten or conduct military operations into Ukraine from multiple directions, increasing Ukraine’s vulnerability to Russian or Russia-backed separatist forces. It thereby compels the Ukrainian military to divide its own forces to address multiple threats. It has also predictably triggered Ukrainian military alerts and mobilizations, which will tax Ukraine’s finances and military capabilities and may also further weaken Ukraine’s fragile political situation.
In yesterday’s public statement, which took many by surprise, Russian President Putin has thrown down the gauntlet, and openly revealed Moscow’s actual assessment: The present government in Ukraine is illegitimate, was installed by a violent coup backed by the US, and Poroshenko is but a puppet of the US, who acts both blindly and foolishly in carrying out acts of terrorism against the Russian Federation.
Putin also went on to characterize the assassination attempt upon the life of Igor Plotnitsky, head of the Lugansk People’s Republic, as an act of terrorism. While it is consistent with Russia’s policy to date to consider any acts of violence against the Russian Federation directly as an illegal aggravation, this is the first time since 2014 that Putin has characterized violence against Novorossiyan leadership as a de facto ‘international’ event (as opposed to an internal police action within Ukraine), and of terrorism at that.
Ukrainian forces commented on the statements regarding shelling along the border
Ukraine has reinforced their military grouping on the border with the Crimea, as reported by the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Viktor Muzhenko.
“The divisions and military units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine which perform tasks in the area along the border with the occupied Crimea, are being placed in high operational readiness. The necessary grouping has been reinforced,” he wrote on Facebook.
Muzhenko stressed that the statements by the Federal Security Service of Russia regarding attacks by Ukraine against the Crimea are not true.
“The statements about alleged attacks from Ukraine against the temporarily occupied Crimea are nonsense and false. They were not fired upon by artillery systems or any other weapons. This can be confirmed by any serviceman or resident of the area, as the sounds of shelling can be heard at a considerable distance,” he noted.
Russia could break diplomatic ties with Ukraine over reported security incidents in Crimea, prime minister Dmitry Medvedev has warned. State news agencies quoted Mr Medvedev as saying that he would not like the ties to be severed but “if there is no other way to change the situation, the president could take this step.”