As Vladimir Putin proudly comments on pulling back troops ahead of this weekend's elections in Ukraine, it appears he is massing an increasingly number of airplanes.. and Ukraine is not happy, as the Foreign Ministry urged Russia to cancel the Aviadarts 2014 international competition (Russia's "Top Gun"), calling it a military drill. The commander of the Russian air force was direct, blasting Ukraine to stop "poking nose" into Russia's affairs.
Ukraine is meddling in Russia’s affairs by asking Moscow to stop the Aviadarts 2014 international competition, calling it a military exercise, the commander of the Russian air force said Wednesday.
Earlier this week, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry urged Russia to cancel the event, scheduled for May 21-27 in the Voronezh region bordering Ukraine, saying it would escalate tensions.
“The Ukrainian side does not know what it is doing itself and it is prying in other people’s affairs,” Lt. Gen. Viktor Bondarev told journalists.
Aviadarts is a contest aimed at showing piloting skills, he stressed. Pilots will compete in the precision firing of unguided air-to-surface missiles and shooting ground targets with their aircraft’s guns.
The pilots will also try to overcome air defense systems, including the newest Pantsir-S1 missile air defense systems and the Kornet anti-tank guided missiles. Unmanned aircraft will control the aerospace.
The official opening ceremony for the Aviadarts 2014 competition is due on Wednesday at the base of the Air Force Academy in Voronezh. The international stage of the competition will take place in mid-July.
So boots on the ground may be pulled back but Russia's top fighter pilots are amassing right on the border... just in case.