MOSCOW, June 25. /TASS/. Russia’s Defense Ministry has called on the Pentagon and the command of the British naval forces "to be guided by reason" when dispatching their warships to the Black Sea, Russian Defense Ministry Spokesman Igor Konashenkov said on Friday.
"We call on the Pentagon and the command of the British naval forces, who send their warships to the Black Sea, not to push their luck pandering to the Ukrainian ‘mosquito fleet admirals’ but to be guided by reason instead," he said.
According to Konashenkov, former Rear Admiral John Kirby, who called the Black Sea incident disinformation, "is fully aware that the Defender destroyer in any part of the Black Sea is a target for the anti-ship systems of the Black Sea Fleet safeguarding Crimea’s security".
The ministry’s spokesman stressed that the Pentagon fitfully denied the obvious even after Russia released a video of the warning shots being fired and direct testimony of the destroyer’s crew. "The epic fiasco of the provocation of the British destroyer Defender in the Black Sea, which abruptly changed course from Russian territorial waters after warning shots from a patrol ship, will long remain a colorful stain on the reputation of the Royal Navy," he said.
Black Sea incident
On Wednesday, the Russian defense ministry said that the Black Sea Fleet and the Federal Security Service (FSB) border guard service thwarted a violation of the Russian border by HMS Defender off Crimea’s Cape Fiolent. The destroyer reportedly traveled three kilometers into Russia’s territorial waters. A coastal guard ship fired warning shots, followed by several bombs dropped from a Su-24M plane ahead of the Defender, after which the destroyer left Russia’s territorial waters. The Russian defense ministry described the destroyer’s actions as a blatant violation of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, and called on London to investigate the actions of the crew.
The British side claims that the destroyer was conducting "innocent passage through Ukrainian territorial waters". According to London, the Russian military did not fire any shots at the destroyer, but conducted "practice firing".
On Thursday, Russia’s FSB released video footage showing warning shots fired in the direction of the British destroyer in the Black Sea. The footage shows that the Russian border guards repeatedly warned the HMS Defender that they would open fire if the destroyer crossed the Russian border, after which warning shots were fired.