Russia Says It Used Bombs, Warning Shots to Deter NATO Ship

Moscow claims British warship was in Russian waters
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 23, 2021 4:49 PM CDT
Russia Says It Fired Warning Shots at British Warship
This March 20, 2020 photo shows HMS Defender in Portsmouth, England.   (Ben Mitchell/PA via AP, File)

Russia says it used warning shots and bombs Wednesday to force a British warship out of waters near Crimea that it claims as its own—but British authorities have a very different version of events. Moscow accused the HMS Defender of "dangerous actions" Wednesday and said a patrol ship fired warning shots at the vessel 12 miles off the coast before a warplane dropped four bombs in the destroyer's path to force it to change course, NPR reports. This is the first time since the Cold War that Moscow has said it used live ammunition to deter a NATO ship, reports the AP. Russia says the British ship ignored warnings and sailed 1.6 nautical miles into Russian waters.

But while Russia insists that the Crimean peninsula, which it seized from Ukraine in 2014, is its territory, it is still internationally recognized as Ukrainian territory and Britain says the Defender was in Ukrainian waters on a commonly used transit route. Britain’s Ministry of Defense issued a statement saying no warning shots had been fired. A BBC correspondent who was on board the warship says it was buzzed by Russian jets and harassed by Russian ships as it sailed near the limit of Crimean waters. Jonathan Beale describes the course as "a deliberate move to make a point to Russia." (More Crimea stories.)

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