LONDON, June 23. /TASS/. UK Defense Ministry claimed that HMS conducts an "innocent passage through Ukrainian territorial waters in accordance with the international law" and rejected Russian Defense Ministry’s claims that warning shots were fired or bombs were dropped in the destroyer’s path.
"The Royal Navy ship is conducting innocent passage through Ukrainian territorial waters in accordance with international law," the Defense Ministry press service said in its Twitter Wednesday, referring to the internationally recognized right to sail through territorial waters of a country provided they mean no harm. "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 recognize the claim that bombs were dropped in her path."
The Defense Ministry also claimed that the destroyer was travelling in an "internationally recognized traffic separation corridor."
"As is normal for this route, she entered an internationally recognized traffic separation corridor. She exited that corridor safely at 0945 BST," the Defense Ministry said in its twitter. "As is routine, Russian vessels shadowed her passage and she was made aware of training exercises in her wider vicinity."
According to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson spokesman, the destroyer was travelling along "the most direct and internationally recognized route between Ukraine and Georgia."
The spokesman also noted that London does not recognize the 2014 reunification of Crimea with Russia.
"As you know, the UK does not recognize Russia's claim to Crimea and we continue to uphold the international consensus that Russia's annexation of Crimea is illegal," the spokesman said.
Earlier, the Defense Ministry announced that the Russian Black Sea Fleet, together with the Federal Security Service Border Control stopped a violation of the Russian border by UK’s HMS Defender destroyer near Cape Fiolent in Crimea. The destroyer travelled three kilometers deep in the Russian territorial waters. The destroyer was warned about the use of force but did not react. A border guard ship fired warning shots, while a SU-24M bomber had to drop warning bombs ahead of the destroyer before the ship turned back and left the Russian waters.