Russian divisions of anti-aircraft missile systems have increased their combat readiness during a snap inspection in southern Russia and in the annexed Crimea.
"More than ten divisions, armed with S-400, S-300 systems, Pantsir-S anti-aircraft missile systems, from the divisions of the 4th Air Force and Air Defense advanced to the designated positions, deployed and entered combat duty in the new positional areas. The defense of the combined forces from enemy air strikes is provided by the Buk-M2, Buk-M3 and TOR-M air defense systems,” reads the statement of the Russian Defense Ministry.
According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the crews of the Russian air defense units will work out the tasks of providing air defense for the bases of the southern military district in the regions of the North Caucasus, the Caucasus, Astrakhan, Volgograd and Rostov regions, Kuban and Crimea.
On Friday, July 17, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a snap inspection of the troops of the Southern and Western Military Districts, separate units of the central subordination, airborne troops and marines of the Northern, Pacific fleets of Russia.
Ukrainian Defense Minister Andriy Taran told MPs on July 17 that in response to the buildup of Russian troops near the borders of Ukraine and forthcoming Kavkaz-2020 exercises, the Ukrainian military also planned strategic command and staff exercises " Joint Effort 2020".
In February 2014, armed people in uniforms without insignias appeared in Crimea and captured the Supreme Council of Crimea, the Simferopol Airport, the Kerch ferry crossing and other strategic objects, and prevented the Ukrainian army from taking action. Initially, the Russian government refused to acknowledge that these armed people were Russian soldiers, but President Vladimir Putin later admitted it.
On 16 March 2014, a referendum on the status of Crimea was held in Crimea and Sevastopol, in which the inhabitants supposedly voted for the peninsula to become part of Russia. The outcome of the so-called referendum is not recognized by Ukraine, the EU or the US. On 18 March, Putin announced the “annexation” of Crimea to Russia.
International organizations have declared the annexation illegal and condemned Russia’s actions. Western countries have imposed economic sanctions on Russia in connection with the annexation. Russia claims to have “restored historical justice”. Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, declared 20 February 2014 the start of Russia’s temporary occupation of Crimea and Sevastopol.