The British Ministry of Defence has denied Russian claims that warning shots and bombs were fired at Royal Navy destroyer HMS Defender near Crimea on Wednesday, June 23.
Russia said an Su-24 dropped four bombs in the path of the British ship in the Black Sea after Russia accused it of entering its waters near Cape Fiolent.
Russia’s defence ministry said its patrol ship opened fire at 12.06pm and shot again two minutes later at the UK navy destroyer which is on naval exercises with US, Dutch and Ukrainian forces.
Russia also said ten minutes later, the Su-24 dropped four OFAB-250s in the path of the British vessel, forcing it to retreat after it ventured two miles inside Russian waters.
The Russian defence ministry alleges the destroyer refused to listen to radio warnings before the shots were fired.
The ministry’s TV channel Zvezda reported: ‘The Black Sea Fleet together with the FSB (security service) stopped a violation of the Russian border by a British destroyer Defender.
‘Today, at 11:52, the Defender crossed the state border of Russia in the northwestern part of the Black Sea.
‘It entered the territorial waters for three kilometres, in the area of Cape Fiolent.
‘Previously warned about the use of weapons in the event of a violation of the border, the British ship did not react to this in any way.
‘At 12:06 and 12:08, a Russian border patrol ship fired a warning shot.
‘At 12:19, the Su-24M aircraft of the Black Sea Fleet performed a warning bombing, dropping 4 OFAB-250 bombs on the course of the destroyer.
‘At 12:23 the British destroyer left the borders of the territorial sea of Russia.’
‘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 Russian ministry said.
But the British Ministry of Defence has denied the claims, saying:
‘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.
‘No shots were directed at HMS Defender and we do not recognise the claim that bombs were dropped in her path.’
The British military attaché to Moscow has now been summoned to the Russian defence ministry after the alleged incident.
Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine in 2014 in a move condemned by the West which still considers it Ukrainian territory.