HMS Defender, one of the United Kingdom’s most powerful destroyers, has entered the harbor of the Georgian city of Batumi, after being reportedly expelled from Russian territorial waters near Crimea.
“Look forward to welcoming @HMSDefender, one of the Air Defence Destroyers in @RoyalNavy in Batumi, #Georgia. The #UK continues to work with partners & allies in promoting security in Black Sea region,” the UK embassy said on Twitter.
On Wednesday, the Russian Defense Ministry said that UK Navy’s Defender destroyer entered Russia’s territorial waters near Cape Fiolent in Crimea. Russia’s Black Sea Fleet and the border security forces had to fire warning shots to divert the destroyer.
UK Defense Ministry said, however, that the ship was on a routine transit from Odessa towards Georgia across the Black Sea in compliance with international maritime law. However, the BBC broadcaster published a video of the destroyer entering Russia’s territorial waters that contradicts the official statements of London.
Russia’s FSB also released a full-length footage of the incident, which shows that the vessel ignored the warnings about the use of weapons and only left the territorial waters after warning shots.
Earlier, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov accused Washington and London of trying to stir up controversy around the recent incident involving UK destroyer Defender near Crimea.
Earlier this week, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said that, according to the UK Ministry of Defense, the Russian statements on warning shots fired to drive the ship from the Russian territorial waters were disinformation.
“@PentagonPresSec John Kirby’s accusations against #Russia in disinformation on the incident with HMS Defender (a.k.a. Aggressor) are groundless,” the embassy wrote on its Twitter page.
“They are trying to heat up the situation and provoke a conflict. This completely contradicts the norms of international law, no matter what the commander or a senior assistant of the Destroyer defender says into his microphone,” Ryabkov said.
On Wednesday, the Russian Defense Ministry reported that the UK destroyer Defender had crossed the Russian maritime border and entered Russian waters three kilometers away in the area of Cape Fiolent in Crimea. After that, the Russian border patrol ship carried out warning firing, and the Su-24M aircraft carried out a “warning bombing” along the path of the destroyer.
The UK Ministry of Defense rejects Russia’s account of the incident, saying it was a peaceful passage and no warning shots were fired.
Compiled By EurAsian Times Desk