REUTERS

Ukrainian Defense Minister Andriy Taran says the Russian Federation is currently preparing to deploy nuclear weapons on the temporarily occupied Crimean peninsula.

He announced this in an interview for Turkey's Anadolu and Demirören pending a meeting of the Ministers of Defense and Foreign Affairs of Ukraine and Turkey in Kyiv, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry's press service said.

Read alsoUkraine's FM Kuleba: Tikhanovskaya must decide on her position on Crimea

"Russia's preparations for the deployment of nuclear weapons in Crimea pose a serious threat to entire Europe and the civilized world," he said.

"An attempt by the Russian Federation to establish dominance in the Black Sea basin is a big threat to the economies of Ukraine, Turkey and other European countries," he added.

The minister also says the fact that Russia tries to block free navigation along the Kerch Strait is dangerous.

According to him, Russia's attempts to jam signals by means of electronic warfare impede air navigation and shipping in the Black Sea. This concern is also shared by other countries in the region, in particular Romania.

Russian occupation of Crimea

  • Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimea in March 2014 after its troops had occupied the peninsula. An illegal referendum was held for Crimeans to decide on accession to Russia. De-facto Crimean authorities reported that allegedly 96.77% of the Crimean population had voted for joining Russia.
  • On March 18, 2014, the so-called agreement on the accession of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol to Russia was signed in the Kremlin.
  • The West did not recognize the annexation in response to which sanctions against Russia were introduced.
  • Ukraine's parliament voted to designate February 20, 2014, as the official date when the temporary occupation of Crimea began.