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Russia says it fired upon UK ship that sailed into waters in Black Sea, UK dismisses entire episode

The incident occurred near Crimea, an area Russian annexed from Ukraine in 2014.

Updated: June 23, 2021 - 9:36pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook


Russia said one of its warships on Wednesday fired warning shots at a United Kingdom destroyer that had allegedly sailed into Russia waters off the coast of Crimea in the Black Sea.

The Russian Defense Ministry said a patrol ship fired live ammunition as warning shots and also that a Russian aircraft dropped four bombs ahead of the British vessel to persuade it to change course, according to ABC News.

The ministry argued the ship, the HMS Defender, ignored warnings and sailed 3 kilometers, or 1.6 nautical miles, into waters Russia considers its own. The ship left Russian waters after the warning shots, the ministry also said. 

A ministry spokeswoman called the ship's alleged navigation a "rude British provocation that defies international law" and a "dangerous move."

U.K.’s Ministry of Defense said its ship was neither in Russian waters or fired upon but said the vessel was in fact in Ukrainian waters. Russia had annexed the Crimean Peninsula in 2014, an area that had belonged to Ukraine since the Cold War.

"No warning shots have been fired at HMS Defender," the ministry said in a statement. "The Royal Navy ship is conducting innocent passage through Ukrainian territorial waters in accordance with international law."

British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace countered Russian claims saying, "These are the things that come and go with Russia ... disinformation, misinformation is something that we have seen regularly. We’re not surprised by it. We plan for it."