Russian Federation says it fired warning shots at British warship

Marco Green
June 23, 2021

WARNING shots at a British Navy destroyer in the Black Sea after it violated the country's territorial waters, the Russian defence ministry said in a statement to news agencies.

A Russian jet also dropped bombs in its path as a warning, the ministry said.

However, the UK's Ministry of Defence said no Russian warning shots were fired and it did not recognise assertions that bombs were put in the vessel's path.

At the root of the contradiction is the fact that Britain, and her allies including the US, have never recognized Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea, which they still consider as Ukrainian territory. "It did not react to the warning", it said.

The UK has denied claims by Russia's defence ministry that Russian forces fired shots at a Royal Navy destroyer in the Black Sea.

London said it believed Russian Federation was "undertaking a gunnery exercise" and had provided prior warning of its activity. The shots were not fired at HMS Defender.

Defence Minister Ben Wallace similarly indicated that the British warship was carrying out "a routine transit" from Odessa towards Georgia, and suggested that the ship was operating in an "internationally recognised traffic separation corridor", "safely" exiting it at 9:45 am British standard time while being shadowed by Russian ships.

The incident took place near Cape Fiolent, off the coast of Crimea.

The source added that the Royal Navy believed there were no bombs or ordnance deployed by the Russian Navy, adding that it seemed that the "Rusians are lying".

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

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members Turkey, Greece, Romania and Bulgaria all are on the Black Sea but warships from the US, UK and other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies also have made increasingly frequent visits in a show of support to Ukraine.

"Moscow likewise reacted politically (in its own way), first spoofing Global Positioning System signals to try and present Defender and a Dutch frigate as aggressively heading straight for the Russian Black Sea Fleet base at Sevastopol. and now claiming - as they have in the past - to have "driven" the Royal Navy away by aggressive operations", he added. The Russian military closely monitors any and all movement by North Atlantic Treaty Organisation warships in the Black Sea, and has the technical means to watch all alliance activity in the body of water.

In April, Russia imposed restrictions on foreign navy ships' movements near Crimea until November in a move that drew strong complaints from Ukraine and the West. Russia has rejected that criticism and noted that the restrictions wouldn't interfere with commercial shipping.

The warship was in the southern Ukrainian port of Odessa earlier this week, according to the British embassy in Ukraine.

Moscow withdrew some of its forces after sweeping manoeuvres but Ukrainian officials said the bulk of them remained.

Speaking earlier Wednesday via video to participants of a Moscow security conference, President Vladimir Putin expressed concern about the deployment of NATO's forces near Russian Federation.

"We presume that it is a military organisation".

"Nato.is something that was born in the Cold War area", he said.

In a speech at the same conference before Wednesday's incident, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said "the situation in Europe is explosive", and accused North Atlantic Treaty Organisation of stonewalling Russian proposals to enhance security by refraining from holding military exercises near the borders of Russia and the alliance members.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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