Moscow Claims Russian Jets and Ships Fired upon British Warship in Black Sea, UK Denies

World | June 23, 2021, Wednesday // 18:39
Bulgaria: Moscow Claims Russian Jets and Ships Fired upon British Warship in Black Sea, UK Denies wikipedia

More than 20 Russian aircraft and two coastguard ships have shadowed a British warship sailing near Crimea.

Moscow's defence ministry said that HMS Defender entered Russian territorial waters near Crimea while a patrol ship fired warning shots and a jet dropped bombs in its path.

Britain's Ministry of Defence (MoD) said no warning shots were fired.

However, a BBC correspondent onboard the warship reported it has been harassed by the Russian military. He described hostile warnings over the radio as the navy crew prepared for a possible confrontation.

BBC correspondent described more than 20 aircraft in the skies above the British ship - and  two Russian coastguard boats shadowed the vessel, at times just 100 yards away.

 Russia claims the illegally-annexed peninsula and its waters are its territory, but Britain says its ship was passing through Ukrainian waters.

UK government spokesman said Russia had given pre-warning to the UK that it was carrying out gunnery exercises in the Black Sea near to where HMS Defender was sailing.

British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said in a statement that HMS Defender was carrying out a "routine transit" when it entered the internationally recognised traffic corridor near Crimea.

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 Russian Defence Ministry said the "dangerous actions" of the destroyer were a "gross violation" of the UN Convention's sea laws.
 
BBC correspondent on the HMS Defender confirmed hearing some firing in the distance but they were believed to be well out of range.

Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 but this has not been recognised internationally.

The British Ambassador has now been summoned to the Russian Foreign Ministry.

HMS Defender is a Type 45 destroyer that is part of the UK's Carrier Strike Group. It is carrying out missions in the Black Sea, according to the Royal Navy's website. Bbc

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