Russia claims it will release ‘proof of British involvement’ in Black Sea drone strike

UK brushes off accusation as ‘invented story’

Maryam Zakir-Hussain
Friday 04 November 2022 16:24 GMT
British ambassador summoned to Russian foreign ministry met with anti-UK protesters

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Moscow has claimed it will publish proof that British specialist troops were involved in a drone attack over the weekend on Russia’s Black Sea fleet.

It comes as the Ministry of Defence dismissed Russia’s allegation as an “invented story” which says “more about arguments going on inside the Russian government than it does about the West”.

Andrei Kelin, the Russian ambassador to the UK, said it will publish its evidence “pretty soon”, adding that the UK is in “too deep” with its Ukrainian involvement.

He told Sky News: “We perfectly know about participation of British specialists in training, preparation and execution of plans against the Russian infrastructure and the Russian fleet in the Black Sea. We know that it has been done.”

“It is dangerous. It can bring us to the line of, I would say, no return – return is always possible – but we should avoid escalation.”

A UK government spokesperson said the Russian allegations were an attempt to “distract attention” from Moscow’s illegal invasion of Ukraine and its continuing losses on the battlefield.

“We do not plan to give a running commentary on these allegations; it is no secret that the United Kingdom has taken a public lead in our support to Ukraine – this has been enduring since Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014,” the spokesperson added.

Andrei Kelin, Russian ambassador to the UK, took aim at Liz Truss’s stance on the Ukraine conflict
Andrei Kelin, Russian ambassador to the UK, took aim at Liz Truss’s stance on the Ukraine conflict (PA)

Foreign secretary James Cleverly also brushed off the allegation, as he tweeted: “The world sees through Putin’s continued disinformation campaign.”

Mr Cleverly also referred to the UN’s nuclear watchdog report on Moscow’s claims that Ukraine was planning a “dirty bomb”.

“Russia’s baseless allegations have been heard, investigated and rejected,” he said. “I welcome the IAEA’s [International Atomic Energy Agency] independent report finding no undeclared nuclear activities by Ukraine.”

Russian army soldiers stand next to their trucks
Russian army soldiers stand next to their trucks (AP)

The string of far-reaching accusations is thought to be indicative of Russia’s weakening offensive as the war appears to be approaching a tipping point.

The situation is so dire that Russia’s forces are threatening to gun down their own retreating soldiers to drive forward Moscow’s military objectives, the British defence ministry said.

It added that the tactic of shooting deserters “likely attests to the low quality, low morale and indiscipline of Russian forces”.

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