Russia created in Crimea self-reliant grouping capable of carrying threat to coastal territories of entire Black Sea region

During four years of occupation, Russia created a powerful military group in Crimea that controls the Black Sea zone, Ukraine's Deputy Defense Minister for European Integration Anatoliy Petrenko has said.

"Over the past four years, the Russian Federation has created a sustainable interdepartmental group on the peninsula that is capable of conducting operations in the northwestern strategic direction, which allows the Russian Federation to control the Black Sea zone, project instability to the eastern part of the Black Sea, to control airspace and coastal areas of the entire Black Sea region," Petrenko said at the international forum titled "Occupied Peninsula: Four Years of Resistance" in Kyiv on Monday.

According to him, during four years of occupation, the Russian Federation created an army corps in Crimea, an operational-tactical association, which includes a large number of armored vehicles and special equipment.

"If there were about 12,000 servicemen of the Russian Federation in 2013, now this number exceeds 31,000. If there were no Russian tanks in Crimea in 2013, this year there are 40 of them," Petrenko said.

According to him, currently 583 armored personnel carriers and 162 artillery systems are also present on the peninsula.

The representative of the Defense Ministry also added that during four years, a mixed aviation division, including bombers, ground attack planes and fighters, were added to the two regiments of naval aviation that were in the Russian Black Sea fleet. Petrenko noted that the number of Russian military aircraft had increased from 22 to 113.

"Combat ships and submarines with sea-based cruise missiles caliber have been introduced into the combat personnel of the Russian Federation. You have all seen their application in Syria from the water area of the Caspian Sea. So, now there are eight such ships in the Black Sea Fleet and they can execute a volley with 52 units of cruise missiles in total. The range of destruction of such a rocket ranges from 1,500 to 2,500 km," the deputy minister said.

"The Russian Federation is planning to introduce the concept of the so-called prohibition zone for access to the Crimean Peninsula, when by combining modern air defense models, anti-ship missile systems, and by moving tactical missile systems Iskander from the mainland of Russia to the Crimean peninsula, the Russian Federation has the ability to control any military platform that will be present in the Black Sea and can with a high degree of probability destroy them," Petrenko said.