Russian Federation says stopped British destroyer trespassing in Black Sea

Tanya Simon
June 23, 2021

The incident took place in the northwestern part of the Black Sea.

The HMS Defender is one of the Royal Navy's most advanced warships.

"Russia is in a very, very hard spot right now".

"They provided us and others with prior warning of this activity", the spokesman added.

In April the United States scrapped plans to deploy two of its destroyers to the Black Sea amid concerns over a build-up of Russian forces on the Ukrainian border. "It disregarded the warning".

The British Military of Defense immediately pushed back on the claims, instead stating that no warning shots were fired, nor were any bombs dropped near the warship.

"No shots were directed at HMS Defender and we do not recognise the claim that bombs were dropped in her path", it added. "I would also like to inform you that the British ambassador will be summoned to the Foreign Ministry of our country", Zakharova said during a briefing.

A Russian jet also dropped bombs in its path as a warning, according to the Interfax news agency which was citing Russia's defence ministry.

Rob Lee, a doctoral student who follows Russian deployments at King's College London's war studies department, told The Moscow Times that Russia's use of warning shots on a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation vessel would mark a "new" development. The Defense Ministry called the ship's action a "grave violation".

The UK does not recognise Russia's claim to Crimea, in line with the worldwide consensus that Russia's annexation of Crimea is illegal.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said HMS Defender had been on "a routine transit from Odesa towards Georgia".

"As is normal for this route, she entered an internationally recognised traffic separation corridor".

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"She exited that corridor safely at 0945 BST (6.45pm AEST)".

"As is routine, Russian vessels shadowed her passage and she was made aware of training exercises in her wider vicinity", Wallace was quoted as saying by BBC.

The Royal Navy said earlier in June that HMS Defender "peeled away" from the U.K.'s carrier strike group in the Mediterranean "to carry out her own set of missions in the Black Sea".

'The Royal Navy ship is conducting innocent passage through Ukrainian territorial waters in accordance with worldwide law. "It did not react to the warning", it said.

"Positioning two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation warships at the entrance of a major Russian naval base would be widely seen as a provocative action, based on conflicting claims of sovereignty", USNI News wrote.

A senior UK Government source told The Telegraph: "Russia was trying to orchestrate an incident and their narrative is entirely and demonstrably false". The Russian Navy's Black Sea forces then started tracking the USA warship. The shots were not fired at HMS Defender.

Nope, said Britain's Defense Ministry.

"There is clearly sensitivity about us helping Ukraine to build their navy. They particularly don't like us near Sevastopol [Russia's Black Sea naval base]".

Sergei Tsekov, a senator for the legislature of Crimea, called the British warship's movements "a flagrant violation of global norms and standards", warning that it could "provoke a serious conflict", according to state media.

Russia said the incident happened near Cape Fiolent in the south of Crimea and - according to a defence ministry statement to Russian news agencies - claimed the British vessel subsequently changed course.

The dispute occurred as Russian Federation steps up pressure on North Atlantic Treaty Organisation to cancel the Sea Breeze military exercises due to begin in the Black Sea region Monday. "Increase risks of unintended security incidents", the Russian embassy tweeted.

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