The UK Defense Ministry denied Moscow’s accusation, saying that the vessel, HMS Defender, was making legal and innocent passage.
A BBC reporter on the ship said he witnessed Russian warplanes and naval vessels buzzing the destroyer.
Russia said the ship went three kilometers (1.9 miles) inside Russian territory off Cape Fiolent in Crimea just before noon local time on Wednesday. A nation’s territorial waters extend 12 nautical miles (22.2 kilometers) from its coastline. Any foreign warship going past that limit would need permission of the country to do so.
Shortly after that, an Su-24M attack jet dropped bombs and a coastal patrol ship fired warning shots in front of the British destroyer, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a report from Russian State Media TASS.
British officials pushed back on the Russian allegations.
“This morning, HMS Defender carried out a routine transit from Odesa towards Georgia across the Black Sea. As is normal for this route, she entered an internationally recognised traffic separation corridor. She exited that corridor safely at 0945 BST. As is routine, Russian vessels shadowed her passage and she was made aware of training exercises in her wider vicinity,” British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said in a tweet.
The UK Ministry of Defence also said no warning shots were fired at its destroyer Wednesday, contrary to what the Russian Defense Ministry claimed, as cited by TASS.
“No warning shots have been fired at HMS Defender. The Royal Navy ship is conducting innocent passage through Ukrainian territorial waters in accordance with international law. 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 UK Defence Ministry Press Office said in a statement.
“No shots were directed at HMS Defender and we do not recognise the claim that bombs were dropped in her path,” the statement added.
BBC journalist Jonathan Beale was on board the vessel during the incident, and reported that it had been harassed by Russian military. Aircraft could be heard overhead during his audio report.
TASS reported the Russian Defence Ministry told journalists the Russian Black Sea Fleet, together with the Federal Security Service Border Control, “stopped a violation of the Russian border” by the ship.
The department said in a statement that it has “called on the British side to conduct a thorough investigation of the actions of the crew of the destroyer ‘Defender’ to prevent similar incidents in the future.”
Go to the news source: Russian forces confront British warship in Black Sea military encounter