As both the West and the European-backed government in Ukraine continue to condemn the Russian military build-up in Crimea since it entered Moscow suzerainty in 2014, and especially this week in announcing further S-400 combat ready deployments on the peninsula following Sunday’s Kerch Strait incident, breaking reports of yet more advanced defense measures to be put into place will send tensions soaring.
Interfax reports that Russia plans to construct a missile early-warning radar station in Crimea in 2019, according to a Crimean security source. The new radar station is to have the capability of tracking ballistic and cruise missiles from long distances. The Interfax source identified the planned location for the high-tech radar installation as in the vicinity of the port of Sevastopol — home to Russia’s Black Sea fleet.
It’s not the first time plans for the radar have been announced. It was previously described as a new generation radar Voronezh-SM designed by one of the largest defense contractors in Russia, RTI Systems.
A prior TASS news agency report which first hinted in 2017 that the system could be operational gave a timeline of “in the coming years” — suggesting either Russia will scramble to complete the project amid the current crisis or officials could be merely touting future plans to deter encroachment by NATO.
TASS explained as part of that prior announcement for the radar system:
The missile early warning system is designed to get and provide data on missile launches and missile trajectories to state and military governance posts to warn about a missile attack. The system also provides data on space objects for outer space control. Russia’s new-generation Voronezh radars make the basis of the country’s ground-based missile early warning system.
Interfax also reported on Thursday that Russia is continuing work on a new technical system designed to better monitor shipping around the peninsula in order to protest its maritime borders — which it accused Ukraine of purposely doing during Sunday’s incident in which the Russian Navy seized three Ukrainian ships and their crews.
Meanwhile there are calls from military and political leaders in both the UK and US to increase military support to Ukraine and to deploy assets in the Black Sea, none of which bodes well for the potential outbreak of major war in the near future.
On Tuesday Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko issued provocative statements during a televised interview, saying that his country is “under threat of full-scale war with Russia” while seeking to justify martial law.
The Ukrainian president added that “the number of units that have been deployed along our border – what’s more, along its full length – has grown dramatically.” He referenced unspecified intelligence reports pointing to Moscow tripling its forces along the border since Crimea joined Russia in 2014.