Ukraine was due to start two days of missile tests on Thursday – a move that has angered Russia, prompting it to put its air defense forces on high alert on the annexed Crimea peninsula.

The disagreement marks a fresh escalation in tensions between the one-time allies, whose relations collapsed in 2014 after Russia seized Crimea and backed pro-Russian separatists fighting in eastern Ukraine.

Ukraine says the tests in its southern Kherson region, bordering Crimea, are legitimate and will be conducted within the framework of international obligations and treaties.

“We will continue to strengthen the defense capability of our nation and continue missile tests and training,” the secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council, Oleksander Turchynov, said on Wednesday.

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