RUSSIA has been branded a “direct threat” to Europe over the increased militarization of Crimea amid renewed tensions in the Black Sea.

Russia‘s militarisation of Crimea has been designated as a “direct threat” to Europe by a leading geopolitical analyst from the Centre for Defense Strategies. Alexander Khara has warned that the Russian missile stockpile arranged in the contested peninsular is able to strike “each and every capital in Europe.” Mr Khara’s concern comes amid renewed tensions in the Black Sea as NATO forces carry out military drills close to Russian territory.

Mr Khara told RT the military drills were a “good opportunity” to showcase the threat Russia posed.

He said: “It is a good opportunity to show regional cooperation and to show the regional powers, and powers beyond the region the threat that Russia poses.

“Not just to Ukraine, not just to the region but to the European continent as a whole.

“A heavy militarisation of Crimea including the nuclear component is a direct threat to Europe.”

“The nuclear missiles are capable of reaching each and every capital in Europe.

“And these missiles are capable of carrying the nuclear warhead,” continued the defence analyst.

“So the militaries of different nations who are taking part in this exercise can see what techniques Russia is developing.

“And is trying to mirror in other areas like the Baltic Sea, like in the Arctic or in the Far E

Last month Russia released footage of the Royal Navy destroyer HMS Defender being targeted with warning shots off the coast of Crimea.

Russia’s Federal Security Bureau (FSB) released the recording on June 24 which appeared to have been taken on board the coast guard vessel that challenged HMS Defender.

“If you don’t change course to starboard, I will fire,” the coast guard vessel officer can be heard warning the British destroyer.

“You must immediately leave the territorial sea of the Russian Federation,” repeats the Russian captain.

He then turns to give order to his crew in Russian to “fire warning shots.”

He commands: “Do not, repeat not hit the Defender. Confirm, over.”

The Royal Navy vessel was at the centre of a tense row between Russia and the UK after Russian military officials claimed the destroyer had been challenged by a patrol ship

A Ministry of Defence statement released at the time said: “No warning shots have been fired at HMS Defender. The Royal Navy ship is conducting innocent passage through Ukrainian territorial waters in accordance with international law.

“We believe the Russians were undertaking a gunnery exercise in the Black Sea and provided the maritime community with prior warning of their activity. No shots were directed at HMS Defender and we do not recognise the claim that bombs were dropped in her path.”