The Russian government on Wednesday said it fired warning shots at a British Royal Navy warship on the Black Sea near Crimea.
Russia’s defence ministry said its fighter jet dropped bombs on the path of the HMS Defender and a border patrol ship fired shots after the warship entered 3 km into its (Russia’s) territorial waters.
The patrol ship reportedly fired twice and the Su24-M jet dropped four bombs in the path of the British vessel.
According to the ministry, the British warship was warned to back off but it kept its course. It, however, left minutes after the shots were fired.
“The destroyer had been warned that weapons would be used if it trespasses the border of the Russian Federation. It did not react to the warning,” the defence ministry said.
But the UK military said it is untrue that its HMS Defender was shot at.
It said its vessel did not trespass but was only conducting “innocent passage” through Ukrainian territorial waters “in accordance with international law”.
“This morning, HMS Defender carried out a routine transit from Odesa towards Georgia across the Black Sea,” UK ministry of defence responded in a statement.
“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.
“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 shots were directed at HMS Defender and we do not recognise the claim that bombs were dropped in her path.”
A statement on HMS Defender from Secretary of State for Defence, @BWallaceMP:
“This morning, HMS Defender carried out a routine transit from Odesa towards Georgia across the Black Sea.
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.
The UK and its allies do not recognise Crimea as Russian territory after Moscow annexed the region in February 2014.