United Kingdom denies claims Russian Federation fired warning shots, dropped bombs near British ship

Provided by The Canadian Press

A statement from the Russian Defence Ministry said of the claimed incident: "The destroyer was warned in advance that weapons would be fired in case of a violation of the Russian state border".

The UK's HMS Defender had trespassed as far as 3km across Russian borders, Moscow said, but left the waters soon after the incident.

Russia seized and annexed the Crimea peninsula from Ukraine in 2014 and considers areas around the peninsula's coast to be Russian waters.

London said it believed Russian Federation was "undertaking a gunnery exercise" and had provided prior warning of its activity.

"No shots were directed at HMS Defender and we do not recognise the claim that bombs were dropped in her path".

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members Turkey, Romania and Bulgaria all are on the Black Sea, but warships from the USA, United Kingdom and other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies also have made increasingly frequent visits there in a show of support for Ukraine.

Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said it was "clear proof of Ukraine's position: Russia's aggressive and provocative actions in the Black and Azov seas, its occupation and militarization of Crimea pose a lasting threat to Ukraine and allies".

HMS Defender at the port of Odessa in southern Ukraine, pictured last week.

The UK has said its the presence of HMS Defender is part of an operation that demonstrates the country's commitment to maintaining a regular Royal Navy presence in the Western Balkans.

The Royal Navy said earlier this month that the HMS Defender had "peeled away" from its strike group conducting North Atlantic Treaty Organisation operations in the Mediterranean to carry out "her own set of missions" in the Black Sea.

The exercises, it said, are created to underline allies' commitment to preserving the freedom of navigation and reassure Ukraine, Georgia and Romania of its support in the region.

Joe Biden meets with Vladimir Putin on June 16.

He emphasized that Britain, and much of the worldwide community, does not recognize Russia's annexation of Crimea.

He said "the world is rapidly sinking in a new confrontation, which is much more risky than during the Cold War times".

"There was a time and there was some talk that this organisation would be transformed". We presume that it is a military organisation.

Aides said Biden wanted to send a message that Putin was isolating himself on the global stage with actions ranging from election interference and cyberattacks on Western nations to his treatment of domestic critics.

In a speech at the same conference before Wednesday's incident, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said "the situation in Europe is explosive", and accused North Atlantic Treaty Organisation of stonewalling Russian proposals to enhance security by refraining from military exercises near the borders of Russia and alliance members. "They are being squeezed by China".



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