Published: Fri, December 07, 2018

Pentagon sends flight over Ukraine following Russian naval incident

Pentagon sends flight over Ukraine following Russian naval incident

CNN also reported that Russia's defence ministry announced on Wednesday that its troops in eastern Crimea, which Moscow annexed from Ukraine in 2014, conducted military exercises involving Pantsir anti-aircraft missile systems.

In this case, the Ukrainian military requested a flight and the US agreed to conduct it over an uncontested portion of Ukraine territory, according to Eric Pahon, a Pentagon spokesman. Such flights occur outside the schedule of normal, planned operations when unusual situations arise. The transit would be another signal of military support for Ukraine.

On Tuesday, a senior U.S. State Department official warned that Moscow must release the Ukrainian sailors or face growing consequences. The most recent was the fast transport ship USNS Carson City, in September.

Pahon said the plane had 17-member crew from the 55th Wing based at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska.

A U.S. Air Force OC-135B observation aircraft flew over Ukraine with U.S., Canadian, German, French, United Kingdom, Romanian and Ukrainian observers on board, the Pentagon told Business Insider in an emailed statement.

In a statement on Thursday, Russia's defense ministry mocked the passage, claiming the ship never entered waters claimed by Russia and expressing "puzzlement at the rhetorical feat of the representatives of the U.S. Navy".

The military added that "Russia's unprovoked attack" on Ukrainian ships near the Kerch Strait on November 25 is "a risky escalation in a pattern of increasingly provocative and threatening activity".

The Pentagon condemned Russia's actions, adding the timing of the flight was intended "to reaffirm US commitment to Ukraine and other partner nations" and that the "resolute" in its support of the security of European nations.

However, contrary to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and the Treaty between Ukraine and the Russian Federation on cooperation in the use of the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait, the Russian coast guard ships - Sobol class patrol boat, Don border guard cruiser, Mangust class patrol boat and Suzdalets anti-submarine warfare ship performed blatantly aggressive acts against the ships of the Ukrainian Navy, ' reads the message.

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