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Russia Puts One More S-400 Battalion Into Service in Crimea Amid Kerch Row

© Sputnik / Igor Zarembo / Go to the mediabankThe S-400 missile defence system.
The S-400 missile defence system. - Sputnik International
ROSTOV-ON-DON (Sputnik) - One more battalion of Russia's S-400 Triumph air defence missile systems will be put into active service in Crimea before the end of 2018, the Russian Southern Military District spokesman, Col. Vadim Astafyev, told reporters.

'In the near future, the new system will be put on combat duty to protect Russian airspace and replace the previous air defence system', Astafyev said, adding that this would take place by the end of the year, albeit without mentioning the place of deployment.

Russian servicemen have started to prepare the military hardware for transfer to a loading station, from where the air defence systems will be delivered to a place of permanent deployment by train.

READ MORE: Ukraine on Brink of War Against Russia After Kerch Strait Incident — President 

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The move comes amid an escalation of tensions between Ukraine and Russia after the incident, involving Ukrainian vessels illegally crossing the Russian border at Kerch Strait. 

In September, a law enforcement source told Sputnik that the fourth battalion of S-400s would be deployed to Crimea near the town of Dzhankoy soon. The Russian Black Sea Fleet said in a statement on September 21 that the third battalion of S-400s was put into active service in the Crimean city of Yevpatoria.

S-400 Triumph (NATO reporting name SA-21 Growler) is Russia's most advanced surface-to-air missile system. It has a range of 400 kilometres (248 miles) and is capable of tracking and destroying all existing aerial targets, including ballistic and cruise missiles.

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