Ukraine launches missile drills near Crimea

Ukrainian 122 mm MLRS BM-21 Grad fires rocket during a military exercise at a shooting range close to Devichiki in the Kiev region on October 28, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / GENYA SAVILOV

Ukraine on Thursday unleashed a barrage of missile tests near Russian-annexed Crimea in a show of strength and defiance bound to irritate Moscow. The two-day military drills near the Black Sea peninsula are a first for the former Soviet republic and a sign that it is regaining assertiveness.

?No one will stop us,? Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko tweeted. Spokesman for Kremlin Dmitry Peskov told Thursday?s online edition of theVedomosti daily that Russia would shoot down the missiles if it felt threatened. A source in the Crimean military told Russia?s RIA Novosti state news agency that his region?s anti-missile systems had been put on a heightened state of alert.