United Kingdom denies claims Russian Federation fired warning shots, dropped bombs near British ship

Carrie Guzman
June 23, 2021

The claims were denied by the UK Ministry of Defence.

However, Downing Street has said it is "incorrect" to say that the Navy destroyer was sacked upon or that the ship was in Russian waters.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said in a statement that HMS Defender had been carrying out a "routine transit from Odesa towards Georgia across the Black Sea".

Giving evidence to the Commons Defence Committee, Mr Wallace said: "Since I spoke, HMA Moscow has now been summoned to the embassy and obviously to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Moscow".

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".

The Russian Ministry of Defence previously announced that HMS Defender "entered 3km into Russian territorial waters in the region of Cape Fiolent" and that the vessel ignored the warning that deadly force would be used if it violated Russia's borders.

According to Moscow, the incident took place off the coast of Cape Fiolent on Crimea, which Russian Federation annexed from Ukraine in 2014, also claiming the peninsula's coastal waters. The British warship was shadowed by Russian vessels, as is routine, he said, and "was made aware of training exercises in her wider vicinity".

"The moves by warships of the United States and its allies have been clearly provocative", General Gerasimov said at an global security conference in Moscow organised by the Russian Defence Ministry.

"This would be a deliberate move to make a point to Russian Federation".

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Beale claimed that HMS Defender did not deviate from its course and continued its journey "almost within 12 miles of Crimea".

"We did hear some firing in the distance but they were believed to be well out of range", he wrote.

The UK has said the presence of the HMS Defender is part of an operation that demonstrates the UK's commitment to maintaining a regular Royal Navy presence in the Western Balkans.

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

The alleged incident comes just two days after the announcement that Britain is to assist Ukraine with the "design and build of warships" and the construction of two new naval bases. Ukraine's navy estimated it lost at least 80% of its assets and capabilities after Russia's annexation of Crimea.

Shoigu's comments followed an intense Russian military buildup on Ukraine's border and in Crimea recently, as part of Russian military exercises in the region.

Earlier this month, US Navy's guided-missile destroyer, USS Laboon, entered the Black Sea.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu told an worldwide conference in Moscow on Wednesday that the security situation in Europe was "explosive" and complained that North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries were continuously increasing their defense budgets.

He charged that the British destroyer Dragon intruded into the Russian waters near Crimea in October, and the U.S. destroyer John McCain violated the Russian border in the Sea of Japan in November.

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