Russia has warned of the consequences of violating its borders under the pretext of freedom of navigation, threatening to respond with measures up to direct military strikes, after a friction occurred on Wednesday with a British destroyer sailing off the Crimea.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that the ministry would summon the British ambassador on Thursday, accusing London of lying in its account of the incident. Read also In 7 years, how has the geopolitical situation changed in Crimea and eastern Ukraine? The Hill: Can the United States fight a war on four fronts? NATO summit widens distance between Turkey and Russia After the Biden and Putin summit, has Russia returned to compete with America for the throne of the world?
In the same context, the Kremlin said that the Russian military will deal firmly in the future with any “provocations”, similar to what the British destroyer did.
But he made it clear that Russia does not classify Britain as an enemy against the backdrop of the devastating incident, and hopes that such “provocations” will not be repeated.
Russia had said it had dropped warning bombs and shots in the path of the British destroyer “Defender” to keep it away from waters Moscow says it belongs to in the Black Sea off the Crimean coast.
The Ministry of Defense also published a video clip that it said showed its interception of the destroyer and directing warning shots at it, and stated that “Defender” had penetrated nearly 3 kilometers into territorial waters near Ras Violent, an area close to the port of Sevastopol, the headquarters of the Russian fleet in the Black Sea.
But London rejected the Russian account, saying it believed any of these shots were part of Russian artillery exercises, and denied that the Russian side had dropped any bombs, but confirmed that its destroyer had sailed through what it said were Ukrainian waters.
The British Ministry of Defense said in a statement that the ship “was making innocent passage in Ukrainian territorial waters under international law” and took an internationally recognized route in the Black Sea when it crossed from Odessa to Georgia.
For his part, the Prime Minister’s spokesman said, “It is not correct to say that the ship was fired on or that it was in Russian waters.”
Escalation around the lanes
Military experts said that – regardless of the accuracy of the details of the Russian or British accounts – the incident appeared to represent an escalation in the confrontation between the West and Moscow over the disputed sea lanes.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov has warned anyone who violates his country’s borders under the pretext of freedom of navigation with a firm military response, according to a statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Deputy Minister denounced London’s position and its “risky actions” and stressed that Russia would respond to any provocations through diplomatic and political means, even if necessary, with warning and direct military strikes.
In the same context, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman denounced the passage of the British destroyer, and considered that what a BBC journalist said that he was on board the destroyer confirmed the Russian story.
“We have two news, one more beautiful than the other, news number 1: the British Ministry of Defense describes reports about warning shots on its ship that entered the territorial waters of Crimea as Russian disinformation,” Zakharova wrote on her Telegram channel.
And she continued, “News No. 2: A BBC journalist who was on board the British destroyer confirmed that it had deliberately entered Russian territorial waters, and indicated that about 20 Russian planes flew over the ship, and that he heard warning shots.” “Who is lying: the British Ministry of Defense or the journalist?” she asked.
The BBC’s Jonathan Bell, aboard the destroyer, had said: “We have just finished crossing the territorial waters of the Russian-occupied Crimea. This was a deliberate move by the British Royal Fleet’s Defender, heading towards Georgia, where the command says it It was traveling on an internationally recognized maritime route.”
Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, and Ukrainian government forces are still fighting in the east of the country backed separatists in a seven-year conflict that Kiev says has killed 14,000.