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Russia Fires Warning Shots At British Warship, UK Denies Incident

Published June 23, 2021

Russia fired warning shots at the UK Navy destroyer HMS Defender in contested Black Sea waters off the Crimean peninsula, a region militarily annexed by Russia in 2014.


The British defense secretary flat-out denied the incident took place, saying, "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 recognize the claim that bombs were dropped in her path.


However, Russian accounts of the incident vary greatly from the Brits'. Moscow claimed the British destroyer ignored repeated radio warnings to deviate course, a Russian Border Patrol ship fired warning shots from its cannon, and an Su-24 aircraft dropped four bombs on the course of the UK warship.


The Russian Ministry of Defense released video they believe validates their claims, although no warning shots or bomb drops can be seen in the footage. Interestingly, BBC reporter Jonathon Beale was onboard the HMS defender at the time and reported harassment from the Russian Navy as well as hostile warnings to deviate course. Beale's reports more closely align with the Russian account of the incident.

Published June 23, 2021

Russia fired warning shots at the UK Navy destroyer HMS Defender in contested Black Sea waters off the Crimean peninsula, a region militarily annexed by Russia in 2014.


The British defense secretary flat-out denied the incident took place, saying, "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 recognize the claim that bombs were dropped in her path.


However, Russian accounts of the incident vary greatly from the Brits'. Moscow claimed the British destroyer ignored repeated radio warnings to deviate course, a Russian Border Patrol ship fired warning shots from its cannon, and an Su-24 aircraft dropped four bombs on the course of the UK warship.


The Russian Ministry of Defense released video they believe validates their claims, although no warning shots or bomb drops can be seen in the footage. Interestingly, BBC reporter Jonathon Beale was onboard the HMS defender at the time and reported harassment from the Russian Navy as well as hostile warnings to deviate course. Beale's reports more closely align with the Russian account of the incident.

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