Russia has deployed additional units of its advanced S-400 air defense missile system on the Crimean Peninsula amid the standoff with Ukraine.
The deployment was reported on Thursday by Russia’s TASS news agency citing a spokesman for the country’s Black Sea Fleet. The missile systems are reportedly deployed in Djankoy in northern Crimea.
The RIA news agency said the new S-400 systems would be operational by the end of the year.
Russia has also deployed the 3K60 Bal coastal anti-ship missile system to Kerch in Crimea where the confrontation with the Ukrainian Navy took place earlier this week.
In Sunday’s confrontation, the Russian Coast Guard fired on and seized three Ukrainian vessels – two small armored artillery boats and a tugboat – and their crews that sought to pass from the Black Sea into the Sea of Azov through the Kerch Strait, between Russia’s mainland and the Crimean Peninsula.
Ukraine insisted that its vessels were operating in international waters in line with international maritime rules when they were fired upon, while Russia said they were in its territorial waters and had failed to get permission to pass. The incident marked the first overt collision between Russian and Ukrainian militaries since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.
S-400 Triumf (NATO designation: SA-21 Growler) is a long-range anti-aircraft and anti-missile defense system developed by Russia’s Almaz Central Design Bureau as an upgrade of the S-300 family. The system, previously known as the S-300PMU-3, has been in service with the Russian Armed Forces since 2007.
Triumf can engage targets at a distance of 400 kilometers and at an altitude of up to 30 kilometers. The system is designed to destroy aircraft, cruise and ballistic missiles, including medium-range ballistic missiles (MRBM), and surface targets.
The S-400 uses four missiles to fill its performance envelope: the very-long-range 40N6 (with 400 km range), the long-range 48N6 (250 km), the medium-range 9M96E2 (120 km) and the short-range 9M96E (40 km).
The system is currently operated by Russian, Belarusian and Chinese Armed Forces. Turkey and India are awaiting the delivery of the system. Saudi Arabia has also agreed to buy the S-400 system.