The British side denies the shelling, they say, it was not and the ship is still peacefully following Ukrainian waters in accordance with international law. We understand what is happening in the Black Sea, what the official parties say, and also collect the latest news on this incident.
Location of the incident
Cape Fiolent is located on the Heracles Peninsula in the southwestern part of the annexed Crimea. From Fiolent to Sevastopol about 15 km. It is in Sevastopol that the main naval base of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Navy is located.
At the international level, the occupation of Crimea is not recognized, including by Great Britain. Occupation is defined as an act of illegal annexation as a result of armed aggression, respectively, Crimea and Sevastopol have the international legal status of "territories of Ukraine temporarily occupied by Russia." In accordance with the norms of international law, there are no territorial waters of Russia in this area.
The official Russian defense department was the first to publish its version. It sounded like this: the British destroyer Defender entered "their territorial waters" in the Black Sea near Cape Fiolent. At 11:52 the British ship crossed the Russian border and entered the territorial sea at Cape Fiolent for 3 km.
Further, the Russian side claims that it warned about the use of weapons in case of violation of the border, only the destroyer crew did not react. The border patrol ship opened fire on the destroyer at 12:06 and 12:08.
Already at 12:19 pm, the Su-24M aircraft performed the same allegedly precautionary bombing (4 OFAB-250) along the Defender's course with guided missile weapons.
Russia also summoned the British military attaché to the Russian Defense Ministry.
Trolling from the UK
At about 15:00 Kyiv time, the British Ministry of Defense officially denied the fact of shooting in the direction of the Royal Navy destroyer Defender. Also, the department did not recognize the allegations that bombs were dropped on their way.
No warning shots have been fired at HMS Defender.— Ministry of Defence Press Office (@DefenceHQPress) June 23, 2021
The Royal Navy ship is conducting innocent passage through Ukrainian territorial waters in accordance with international law.
The department also added that Russia probably fired shots during the exercises of the Russian military.
We believe the Russians were undertaking a gunnery exercise in the Black Sea and provided the maritime community with prior-warning of their activity.— Ministry of Defence Press Office (@DefenceHQPress) June 23, 2021
No shots were directed at HMS Defender and we do not recognise the claim that bombs were dropped in her path.
In addition, British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said that Defender carried out a "routine transit" and entered an internationally recognized traffic corridor, reports the BBC.
Russia earlier announced the conduct of large-scale military exercises. In addition, the Russian Federation for six months (from April 24 to October 31) blocked traffic for foreign warships and other state vessels in three regions of the Black Sea. Probably, in response, the Ministry spoke about these exercises.
The ban included an elongated section of the water area along the coast of Crimea, approximately from Sevastopol to Gurzuf, a rectangular section off the coast of the Kerch Peninsula (abeam of the Opuksky nature reserve), and a small section near the western edge of Crimea.
Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba commented on the incident that took place in the official Ukrainian territorial waters.
"A clear proof of the Ukrainian position: Russia's aggressive and provocative policy in the Black and Azov Seas, the occupation and militarization of Crimea constitute a constant threat to Ukraine and its allies," Kuleba said.
He called the incident a confirmation that Ukraine needs a qualitatively new interaction with NATO members in the Black Sea.
The destroyer followed from Odesa
HMS Defender is a Type 45 destroyer that belongs to the British group Carrier Strike. According to the Royal Navy website, he is on a mission in the Black Sea.
According to the British Embassy in Ukraine, the warship was in the port of Odesa earlier this week. It is noted that the UK and Ukraine signed an agreement on the joint construction of warships and two naval bases.