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Black Sea: London denies Russian warning shots

Status: 23.06.2021 3:51 p.m.

Incident at the Black Sea: According to Russia, a British warship entered Russian waters. Warning shots were fired. However, Great Britain rejected both.

Reports from Moscow indicate that an incident took place in the Black Sea between the Russian Armed Forces and the British Navy. Russian Defense Ministry talks about Russian regional water intrusion and warning footage by a British destroyer. London, however, rejected this representation: the “HMS Defender” was only on a “peaceful route through the Ukrainian Sea”.

The government agency DOS quoted the Ministry of Defense as saying that the ship had sailed three kilometers into Russian territorial waters near the Crimean peninsula. The “guard” received an advance warning that weapons would be used if the state borders of the Russian Federation were violated, it said.

The Moscow ministry said the “guard” did not initially respond to warnings. A border patrol ship then blew up warning shots. Following that, four air bombs were dropped by a “block” in the course of the “Defender”. After the warning shots, the destroyer left Russian waters. No injuries.

The incident took place off the coast of Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014.

London: The ship was on a “quiet path”

On the contrary, the British Ministry of Defense said in a statement on Twitter: “We believe the Russians have carried out targeted operations in the Black Sea.” These were announced in advance. There are no footage targeting the “HMS Defender” destroyer used on the site. The claim that bombs were dropped in the course of the ship is also false.

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The report states that the “HMS Defender” was on a “harmless route” through Ukrainian waters under international law.

There are recurring incidents at sea and in the air because Russia sees its air and sea borders being breached – but the firing of warning shots is very rare. The annexation of Crimea is not internationally recognized, which is why the government in Kiev sees it as Ukrainian territory.

Russian critique of US-led exercise

The current incident occurred just days before the start of the “Sea Breeze 2021” military maneuver in the Black Sea. Moscow is very critical of this. The Russian embassy in the United States said on Twitter that “the size of the military exercises and the apparent aggression are in no way relevant to the real security needs in the Black Sea region.” This increases the risk of “accidents”.

“Sea Breeze” is scheduled to launch on Monday

A two-week maneuver in the Black Sea “sea breeze” (“sea breeze”) is set to begin this Monday, according to U.S. sources. There are 32 participating nations, 5,000 soldiers, 32 ships, 40 aircraft and 18 special operations and diving teams from six continents, making it the largest exercise of its kind to date. Ukraine will run the maneuver.

These annual exercises have been in practice since 1997. The maneuver is taking place against the backdrop of new tensions between Moscow and the West.

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