As it happenedended1624480667

Russia news: Moscow says British warship in ‘clear violation’ and calls it HMS Provocateur

MoD denies shots fired and bombs dropped in path of HMS Defender

Ship tracker shows HMS defender route past Crimea coast

A reporter on board the HMS Defender has claimed the crew of the Royal Navy destroyer was on “high alert” and gunfire was heard after Russia claimed its forces fired warning shots at the warship after it entered the country’s territorial waters in the Black Sea.

The Russian Defence Ministry said shots were fired and bombs dropped in the path of the vessel in waters off Crimea, but the Ministry of Defence has denied the claims.

In a statement posted on Twitter, the MoD said: "No warning shots have been fired at HMS Defender. The Royal Navy ship is conducting innocent passage through Ukrainian territorial waters in accordance with international law.

"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 recognise the claim that bombs were dropped in her path.”

The Russian Embassy in London branded the warship “HMS Provocateur” in a post on Twitter, writing: “HMS Defender turns HMS Provocateur and violates Russian border. Not exactly a ‘routine’ transit, is it?”

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Hello and welcome to live coverage as the Ministry of Defence dismisses reports from Russia that warning shots were fired atHMS Defender.

Samuel Osborne23 June 2021 13:38
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Russia fires ‘warning shots’ against British ship, Moscow Defence Ministry says

Here is our article as the news broke from our Moscow correspondent, Oliver Carroll:

Moscow says warning shots fired as UK claims ‘innocent passage’ of warship – follow live

Shots fired and bombs dropped in path of HMS Defender, Russian Defence Ministry says

Samuel Osborne23 June 2021 13:42
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MoD denies Russia fired warning shots at Royal Navy warship

The Ministry of Defence has denied claims by Russia that its forces fired warning shots at a Royal Navy destroyer after it entered the country's territorial waters in the Black Sea.

In a statement posted on Twitter, the MoD said: "No warning shots have been fired at HMS Defender.

"The Royal Navy ship is conducting innocent passage through Ukrainian territorial waters in accordance with international law.

"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 recognise the claim that bombs were dropped in her path."

Samuel Osborne23 June 2021 13:50
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Labour calls on foreign secretary to make statement to Parliament on Russian claims

Labour’s shadow foreign secretary has called on the foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, to make a statement to the House of Commons on Russia’s claims.

Lisa Nandy said: “The foreign secretary must urgently come to the House to confirm the validity of these deeply concerning reports and outline what steps the UK is taking to ensure the safety of British forces in the Black Sea.”

Samuel Osborne23 June 2021 13:57
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MoD says ‘no warning shots fired and no shots were directed’ at warship

No warning shots were fired and no shots were directed at HMS Defender, the MoD has said.

A Ministry of Defence spokesperson said: “No warning shots have been fired at HMS Defender.

“The Royal Navy ship was conducting innocent passage through Ukrainian territorial waters in accordance with international law.”

They said Russian forces were undertaking a gunnery exercise “in the vicinity of HMS Defender” and said the MoD does “not recognise the claim that bombs were dropped in her path”.

They said: “The Russians were undertaking a gunnery exercise in the vicinity of HMS Defender and provided the maritime community with prior-warning of their activity. Russian aircraft were also exercising in the area.

“There were no warning shots fired and no shots were directed at HMS Defender. We also do not recognise the claim that bombs were dropped in her path.

“HMS Defender is taking the most direct and internationally recognised route between Ukraine and Georgia.

“The UK does not recognise Russia’s claim to Crimea and we will continue to uphold the international consensus that Russia’s annexation of Crimea is illegal.

“The UK acted and will continue to operate in accordance with international maritime law and line with ours and other Nato allies’ previous behaviour. Safe conduct at sea is always paramount.”

Samuel Osborne23 June 2021 14:04
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Royal Navy ship left area ‘safely’, defence secretary says

The defence secretary, Ben Wallace, has said the HMS Defender left an internationally recognised traffic separation corridor in the Black Sea “safely”.

He said: “This morning, HMS Defender carried out a routine transit from Odesa towards Georgia across the Black Sea.

“As is normal for this route, she entered an internationally recognised traffic separation corridor. She exited that corridor safely at 0945 BST.

“As is routine, Russian vessels shadowed her passage and she was made aware of training exercises in her wider vicinity.”

Samuel Osborne23 June 2021 14:13
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What we know about HMS Defender

HMS Defender, a Type 45 destroyer, is part of the UK Carrier Strike Group currently heading to the Indo-Pacific region.

However, earlier this month it was announced that it would be temporarily breaking away from the group to carry out its "own set of missions" in the Black Sea.

Samuel Osborne23 June 2021 14:37
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Defence secretary attacks Russian ‘disinformation’ after claims of warning shots fired at British destroyer

The defence secretary has attacked Russian “disinformation” in claiming warning shots were fired at a British warship in Crimea and vowed to “uphold international law”.

Ben Wallace said Moscow’s false claims about the incident were nothing new, telling MPs: “We are not surprised by it, we plan for it.”

“Disinformation, misinformation is something that we have seen regularly,” he said, adding: “We will not shy away from upholding international law and our rights on the sea.”

Defence Secretary attacks Russian ‘disinformation’ after claims of warning shots fired at British destroyer

‘We will not shy away from upholding international law and our rights on the sea’, Ben Wallace vows

Samuel Osborne23 June 2021 14:50
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Crew on ‘high alert’ as gunfire heard

The BBC's Jonathan Beale, who is aboard HMS Defender, said the crew was on "high alert" and gunfire had been heard.

Speaking to BBC News he said there had been, at times, more than 20 Russian aircraft monitoring the Royal Navy destroyer and "warnings from Russian Coastguard vessels, and indeed we have heard shots fired, we believe they were out of range".

The broadcaster's defence correspondent said "there has been a lot of warnings from the Russian military, both vessels and also up above with aircraft".

He said: "Throughout this transit crew onboard HMS Defender have been on high alert, on action stations, and at one stage they did put on white flash (protective equipment) to protect their faces just in case there was going to be an exchange of fire but they did not think that would happen and it did not happen. They did hear gunfire, we think from one of the Russian Coastguards that was shadowing us."

He added that Russia had also tried to "make a manoeuvre to make sure that HMS Defender altered course but HMS Defender continued down that recognised shipping lane inside Crimean territorial waters, within 12 miles of the coast".

He said: "It is now out into international waters but Russian jets are still buzzing this Royal Navy warship as we progress now on the next part of the journey towards Georgia."

Samuel Osborne23 June 2021 15:05
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Defence secretary says crew heard ‘training noises’ and attacks Russian ‘disinformation, misinformation'

Appearing before the Commons Defence Committee the defence secretary, Ben Wallace, said the crew of HMS Defender did hear "training noises" to the rear of the ship, but it was "beyond visual range".

He said the destroyer only varied course - away from Crimea - when a slower moving Russian vessel appeared in its path.

He said the Russians had previously made false claims to have "chased out" another British warship, HMS Dragon.

"These are the things that come an go with Russia. Disinformation, misinformation is something that we have seen regularly. We are not surprised by it," he said.

"We plan for it and we take all steps to make sure we are not escalatory or provocative.

"However we will not shy away from upholding international law and our rights on the sea."

Samuel Osborne23 June 2021 15:33

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