Russia 'demanded Royal Navy ship "change course or we'll fire" before shooting'

Russian military officials told the British warship HMS Defender “change course or we shoot” as it approached disputed waters, a journalist on board claimed.

Russia claims its military fired warning shots and dropped bombs on the HMS Defender.

But the UK has flatly denied any allegations of a confrontation and that the ship left Russian waters shortly after “after venturing up to two miles into it”.

Russia has since released footage claiming the UK Defense Attache was summoned to hear a Defense Ministry protest from Vladimir Putin. Great Britain has not commented on the video.

The dispute is likely to revolve around the Black Sea over the annexed Crimea – a territory to which both Russia and Ukraine lay claim.

The British destroyer was reportedly warned when entering the 12-mile border of the Crimean territorial waters near Cape Fiolent in the Black Sea and was shadowed by Russian ships and planes.

Defense correspondent Jonathan Beale, who is aboard HMS Defender, claimed the British warship’s crew were ready with loaded weapons systems as they approached the southern tip of the peninsula while Russia issued verbal warnings.

He said that BBC : “The radio began to send out hostile warnings – including one that said ‘If you don’t change course, I’ll fire’.

“We heard some shots in the distance, but it was believed that they were way out of range.”

According to the Email online, Captain Vincent Owen of HMS Destroyer described the mission as confident but not confrontational as his ship found its way onto an internationally recognized shipping route.

But Mr Beale claimed his course was a “deliberate move to show Russia”.

Britain and much of the international community do not recognize Russia’s sovereignty in the region.

The Crimean crisis excluded Russia from the G8 – which is now the G7.

A statement by the UK Department of Defense released on Wednesday said: “No warning shots were fired at the HMS Defender.

“The Royal Navy ship is making an innocent passage through Ukrainian territorial waters in accordance with international law.

“We believe the Russians conducted a gun drill in the Black Sea and warned the seafaring community of their activity.

HMS defender

“The HMS Defender was not shot and we do not recognize claims that bombs were dropped in its path.”

Russia released a short video of its officials summoning the British military attaches on allegations that a British warship had entered waters it claims.

The clip was released on Russian state television and is supposed to show the British military attaché meeting representatives from the country’s Ministry of Defense.

The Ministry’s television channel Zvezda reported on the allegations. It said: “The Black Sea Fleet, together with the FSB (security service), stopped a violation of the Russian border by a British destroyer Defender.

British Defense Attache claimed to have been called by Russians who were being filmed

“Today at 11:52 am the Defender crossed the Russian state border in the northwestern part of the Black Sea.

“It entered the territorial waters for three kilometers, in the Cape Fiolent area.

“Previously warned against the use of weapons in border violations, the British ship did not respond in any way.

“At 12:06 and 12:08 a.m., a Russian border patrol ship fired a warning shot.

Map of the route of HMS Defender through the Black Sea

“At 12:19 pm, the Black Sea Fleet’s Su-24M aircraft carried out a warning bombardment and dropped 4 OFAB-250 bombs on the destroyer’s course.

“At 12:23 p.m. the British destroyer left the borders of the territorial sea of ​​Russia.”

The British defender had previously visited the Ukrainian naval port of Odessa before the confrontation was alleged.

The destroyer had been deployed in the Black Sea with the American naval guided missile destroyer USS Laboon and the Dutch warship HNLMS Evertsen to support Ukraine following the recent massive military build-up by President Vladimir Putin near the Ukrainian border.

Russia has said in the past few days that it is closely monitoring HMS Defender.

An earlier picture taken of the warship showed the Russian frigate Admiral Essen “shadowing” the USS Laboon.

Russia’s National Defense Control Center said: “Forces and systems of the [Russian] The Black Sea Fleet has started to monitor the movements of the Royal Navy’s HMS Defender and the Dutch Navy’s frigate Evertsen. “

Former fleet commander Admiral Vladimir Komoyedov said: “These ships will definitely not be welcome here.

“No one will greet them as guests of honor while their actions are definitely being monitored.

“They are technically monitored directly from the air and from space.”

The Russian fleet is increasing “its combat readiness, especially the readiness of air defense teams and certain standby forces” with the presence of NATO ships, he said

They would be “closely monitored”.

“Their visits to the Black Sea have become too frequent,” said Komoyedov, also hinting that their presence “went too far”.

The USS Laboon is in the Black Sea “to conduct maritime security operations in the region,” said the United States’ Sixth Fleet on Twitter.

The destroyer can carry up to 56 Tomahawk cruise missiles.

Last month General Vladimir Kulishov, deputy director of the FSB Security Service, claimed that the Royal Navy destroyer HMS Dragon must be “expelled” by the Russians after it “warned” not to enter “Russian territorial waters” in the annexed Crimea.

British sources flatly denied the FSB’s claim relating to an incident in October last year.

“The Navy of the Russian Federation did not obstruct the passage of the HMS Dragon,” said a spokesman for the Defense Ministry.

“She navigated without incident and exercised our right of innocent passage under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

“The HMS Dragon took the most direct route between two port visits and drove a recognized safe route for all international shipping in Ukrainian waters.”


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