Russia will modernise and relaunch a Soviet-era radar station on the Crimean peninsula annexed from Ukraine to provide early warning of missile strikes, a senior defence official said Saturday.
The radar station in the port city of Sevastopol will become fully operational in 2016, the commander of the air and space defence forces, Alexander Golovko, was quoted as saying by the TASS news agency.
“The radar station’s Dnepr warning system on air strikes, based in Sevastopol, will become part of Russia’s missile warning system after modernisation, and will become operational in 2016,” Golovko said.
Russia rented the Soviet-era facility from Ukraine for several years after the breakup of the USSR.
Russia is making huge investments into Crimea after annexing it in March this year in a demonstration of its intention to stay despite the annexation not being recognized internationally and the resulting sanctions from the United States and the European Union.
Russian forces will also from December 1 take over the Centre for Deep Space Communications in Yevpatoria in Crimea, which houses a giant radio telescope built in the 1970s, Golovko said.
Golovko said the Crimean installations would “make quite a weighty contribution” to Russia’s space programme.
Russia plans to hike defence spending by 21.4 per cent in 2015, with Crimea one of the priorities. Russia’s Black Sea naval fleet, which is based in the Crimean city of Sevastopol, is also undergoing modernisation.