Russian Federation says stopped British destroyer trespassing in Black Sea

Russian Federation says stopped British destroyer trespassing in Black Sea”

A Russian fighter jet and border guard ship have fired "warning" shots at a British warship that the military said violated Russia's borders in the Black Sea near annexed Crimea, the Defense Ministry told state media Wednesday in a claim Britain later denied.

RIA Novosti, a Russian state news agency, played up the incident as a victory for Russia, running with the headline: "Navy and air force expel North Atlantic Treaty Organisation destroyer violating border in Black Sea".

HMS Defender left Russian waters soon afterwards, having ventured as much as 3km (2 miles) inside, the ministry said. UK's defense attache has also been summoned by the Russian Ministry of Defense 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".

"No warning shots have been fired at HMS Defender", the British Defence Ministry tweeted, saying the warship was "conducting innocent passage" through Ukrainian territorial waters in accordance with global law.

Jonathan Beale, a BBC journalist on board the Defender, reported that shots were heard, out of range.

It added: "The Royal Navy ship is conducting innocent passage through Ukrainian territorial waters in accordance with worldwide law".

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.

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The ministry said the ship left Russian waters after the shots were fired.

"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.

"As is normal for this route, she entered an internationally recognised traffic separation corridor", he said, in a statement shared by the ministry on Twitter.

He added: "She exited that corridor safely at 0945 BST".

The Royal Navy warship, one of the nation's newest and most technologically advanced, had sailed from the United Kingdom last month with the new carrier taskforce, but detached a fortnight ago to head to the Black Sea.

A UK Defence source said: "Defender was transiting, she was being shadowed by some small patrol boats and aircraft and the Russians asked her to leave where she was - they did not want her to be so close to Sevastopol, their Black Sea base".

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. Russian Federation has frequently chafed at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation warship visits to the Black Sea, casting them as destabilizing, although North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members Turkey, Romania and Bulgaria all are on the Black Sea. We've just said this week that we'll give Ukraine two minehunters and build two naval bases for them.

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. We presume that it is a military organisation.

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