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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kiev Riled at Alleged Plans for Aircraft

KIEV -- Ukraine's Defense Ministry on Wednesday protested against alleged plans by Russia to seize at least 20 TU-22 military aircraft during upcoming military exercises by the joint Black Sea Fleet. The statement said Black Sea Air Force pilots, based in Ukraine's Crimean peninsula, had been ordered to land the missile-carriers on the Krymsk military base in southern Russia. It was not clear when the exercises would occur. "Any attempts to move military technology or property of the Black Seat Fleet from our territory are illegal and will inevitably worsen the issue of dividing the fleet," it said. The Black Sea Fleet, which is de facto under Russian control, refused to comment on the Defense Ministry statement. "We are not obliged to report on plans for military exercises until a day before they are to take place," said fleet press officer Sergei Ozerov. The dispute over the 800-vessel fleet, unresolved more than two years after the collapse of the former Soviet Union, damaged improving relations between Moscow and Kiev after a Russian delegation stormed out of the latest round of talks last month.