On 23 June, Russia’s Black Sea Fleet together with border forces of the Federal Security Service (FSB) expelled the UK destroyer Defender which had entered into Russian territorial waters. The Russian forces had fired warning shots.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry has warned that anyone who carries out provocations similar to the UK HMS Defender incident, that occurred on 23 June, would face dire consequences, according to the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov.
Ryabkov also told reporters that the security of Russia comes first, adding that the country can appeal to common sense and call on other countries to respect international law, but if such a stance does not help, Russia can use its armed forces to defend its borders.
“If our [Western] colleagues do not understand, we can bomb not only the course, but also the targets”, he added.
Ryabkov also stated that Moscow will respond to the incident through diplomatic channels.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova made a statement on 24 June and promised that the Ministry will provide a comprehensive response to such provocations, adding that Russian Foreign Ministry will register a strong protest with the UK ambassador with regard to the incident.
The Russian Federation sent a clear message that naval vessels should ask for permission before entering Russia’s maritime territory, Zakharova added.
Previously, the ministry’s spokesperson Maria Zakharova stated Moscow considers the incident with the UK navy destroyer in the Black Sea a gross provocation. The British ambassador is likely to be summoned to the Foreign Ministry of Russia in the following days.
On 23 June, the Russian Defense Ministry announced that the Black Sea Fleet and the border security forces expelled the HMS Defender, which had entered Russia’s territorial waters.
According to the ministry, the destroyer was warned that weapons would be used if it crosses the state border, but it did not react. Russia’s Su-24m aircraft carried out a ‘warning bombing’ along the plotted course of the UK vessel.
Following the incident, the UK embassy’s attache was summoned to the Russian Defense Ministry.
Meanwhile, UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace claimed that Russian vessels only monitored the passage of the destroyer in international waters, as it was carrying out a routine transit from Odessa towards Georgia across the Black Sea. In addition, the UK’s Foreign Minister Dominic Raab said on 24 June that no shots were fired on a British destroyer during the incident in the Black Sea and the Russian Defence Ministry’s explanation of the incident was “predictably inaccurate”.