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Kremlin Confirms Warning About Shooting Down Ukrainian Missiles

Russian navy ships and helicopters take a part in a landing operation during military drills at the Black Sea coast, Crimea. Pavel Golovkin / AP

Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed that the Kremlin had sent a diplomatic note to Ukraine, warning that it would shoot down Ukrainian missiles fired during Ukrainian military exercises from Dec. 1-2, the Interfax news agency reported Thursday.

On Nov. 25, the Ukrainian military attache in Moscow received a note of protest from the Russian Defense Ministry regarding the firing of missiles in the airspace above what Russia considers to be its territorial waters around Crimea, but there was no mention of any plan to shoot down Ukrainian missiles.

On the evening of Nov. 30, the Ukrainskaya Pravda newspaper published the text of the note on its website.

"The Defense Ministry of the Russian Federation warns that missiles launched in the identified area will be destroyed by air defense forces of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. In the event that the missiles pose a threat to Russian objects in the area of Russian Federation territory (on land, at sea or in the air space), their launch platforms will be destroyed in retaliation," the document stated.

On Nov. 25, Russia's Rosaviatsia aviation regulator also made an appeal to the Ukrainian side, warning that missile tests could pose a danger to civilian aircraft in the area. Representative Sergei Izvolsky said that the airspace would not be closed to civilian aircraft during the period of the Ukrainian military exercises. 

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