Russia deployed a dozen SU-27 and SU-30 fighter planes in Crimea on Saturday to boost its air presence on the peninsula in a context of tension with Ukraine.
A Reuters reporter saw the aircraft land at Belbek’s Crimea base, annexed by Russia in 2014 after Ukrainian pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych was chased by street protests.
Tensions between Moscow and Kiev intensified with the recent incident between Russian and Ukrainian naval vessels in the Kerch Strait giving access to the Sea of Azov on which the port of Mariupol is located.
Three Ukrainian ships were seized by Russian forces on 25 November during an incident that the two countries are referring to.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused Ukraine of preparing a “provocation” near Crimea before the end of the year.