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By Lord Watson of Wyre Forest
Press releases

UK Denies Russian Claims It Fired Warning Shots At Royal Navy Vessel In Black Sea

The Ministry of Defence have denied the claims made by Russia

2 min read

The UK has refuted claims from the Russian military that it fired warning shots at a British warship in the Black Sea.

Russia's defence ministry had earlier claimed HMS Defender entered Russian territorial waters near Crimea and had responded by firing warning shots.

They also claimed a fighter jet had dropped bombs in the path of the UK vessel to deter it from continuing through its waters.

But the UK's Ministry of Defence (MoD) has denied the reports, saying Russia had fired no warning shots and had instead been conducting a "gunnery exercise" for which they had provided prior warning.

In a series of tweets, the MoD said: "No warning shots have been fired at HMS Defender.

"The Royal Navy ship is conducting innocent passage through Ukranian territorial waters in accordance with international law."

They added: "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."

Russian media had claimed the ship had been ordered to divert after crossing the border into its territorial waters but had maintained its course until two warning shots were fired from a Russian patrol vessel and an SU-24 fighter jet dropped four warning bombs in its path.

The claims came amid heightened tensions in Crimea which Russia illegally annexed from Ukraine in 2014.

According to the Interfax news agency, Russia has summoned Britain's defence attaché in response to the alleged incursion by the UK vessel.

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