Putin Calls Accident with British Warship off Crimea Clear Provocation

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Russian President Vladimir Putin stated during his annual Q&A session on Wednesday that the incident with the British guided missile ship Defender off the coast of Crimea was a blatant provocation.

According to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the British destroyer’s entry into Russian territorial waters in the Black Sea was for reconnaissance purposes.

“Possibly, I’ve blabbed out a secret, my apologies to the military,” Putin added, as reported by TASS.

He emphasized that the British warship entered Russian territorial waters throughout the day, while a US strategic reconnaissance plane took off from one of NATO’s airbases in Greece, on the island of Crete, around 07:30.

The Black Sea Fleet, in cooperation with the Federal Security Service (FSB), stopped a breach of the state border by the UK Navy’s guided missile destroyer Defender off Crimea’s Fiolent Cape on June 23, according to Russia’s Defense Ministry.

The British warship entered Russian territorial seas three kilometers away. To pursue the UK warship out of Crimean seas, a Russian guard ship fired warning shots while a Su-24M aircraft dropped bombs in its course.

The Russian Defense Ministry condemned the UK destroyer’s conduct as a flagrant breach of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, and requested the British side to examine the naval crew’s actions.