ISTANBUL (Today’s Zaman) — As tensions persist between Moscow and Ankara over the downing of a Russian jet on the Syrian border in November, Russia’s Caspian Sea Fleet has begun testing at the Podsolnuh radar station, which can monitor Istanbul.
According to a report in the Cumhuriyet daily on Monday, Russian officials have said that test runs at the Podsolnuh radar station, which was set up on the Crimean Peninsula in 2014 after Russia annexed the region from Ukraine, have been successful. The officials said in a statement that “the objective of the tests was to exercise the communications between the operations centers of warships and air and surface targets.”
An official from the Russian Defense Ministry said in 2014 when the radar station was established in Crimea that it would monitor the area including the Bosporus Strait.
Russia has been increasing its military presence in the region ever since Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet near the Syrian border in late November. It was recently reported that Russia will send MIG-29 fighter jets and a Mil Mi-8 transport helicopter to a Russian base near Yerevan in the second half of this year.
The Turkish media has cited an announcement from the Russian Southern Military District that Russia will send new military aircraft to the Erebuni base located seven-and-a-half miles southwest of Yerevan.
According to the statement the MIG-29 jets will protect the airspace of Armenia, which is “part of the Commonwealth of Independent States [CIS] air borders.”