Anglia denies claim Russia fired ‘warning shots’ at British warship

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LONDON — The U.K. denied claims by Russia that one of its warships fired warning shots at a British destroyer in the Black Sea.

The Russian defense ministry claimed on Wednesday that it fired shots after the British missile destroyer HMS Defender ignored a “preliminary warning” against intrusion into Russia’s territorial waters. It said that a Russian Su-24 bomber also dropped bombs ahead of the British ship to persuade it to change course.

But that account was strongly disputed by the U.K. government. “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,” the ministry of defence said in a statement.

The ministry added: “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.”

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace meanwhile said HMS Defender had been carrying out “a routine transit from Odessa towards Georgia across the Black Sea. As is normal for this route, she entered an internationally recognised traffic separation corridor.”

He added: “She exited that corridor safely at 0945 BST. As is routine, Russian vessels shadowed her passage and she was made aware of training exercises in her wider vicinity.”

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman meanwhile told journalists the ship had not entered Russian waters.

The Royal Navy ship traveled to the region as the U.K. signed a deal with Ukraine to supply it with missiles and other armaments, including the creation of a new naval base on the Black Sea to serve as Ukraine’s primary fleet base, and a new base on the Sea of Azov.

Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014, a move that was not recognized by most countries in the world. Russia has frequently chafed at NATO warship visits to the Black Sea, casting them as destabilizing, although NATO members Turkey, Romania and Bulgaria all are on the Black Sea.

© 2021 Politico

2 comments

  • Here is a report from the BBC. It seems the ship was primed and ready for action. If Muscovy need to send out half their airforce because of 1 ship. I can’t wait to see what they send out when Sea Breeze starts, with over 40 ships “provoking” Russia.

    “I am on board the warship, in the Black Sea.

    The crew were already at action stations as they approached the southern tip of Russian occupied Crimea. Weapons systems on board the Royal Navy destroyer had already been loaded.

    This would be a deliberate move to make a point to Russia. HMS Defender was going to sail within the 12 mile (19km) limit of Crimea’s territorial waters. The captain insisted he was only seeking safe passage thorough an internationally recognised shipping lane.

    Two Russian coastguard ships that were shadowing the Royal Navy warship, tried to force it to alter course. At one stage one of the Russian vessels closed in to about 100m (328ft).

    Increasingly hostile warnings were issued over the radio – including one that said “if you don’t change course I’ll fire”. We did hear some firing in the distance but they were believed to be well out of range.

    As HMS Defender sailed through the shipping lane it was buzzed by Russian jets. The Captain, Vincent Owen, said the ship detected more than 20 military aircraft nearby. Commander Owen said his mission was confident but non-confrontational.”

    Liked by 3 people

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