MOSCOW, June 24. /TASS/. The incident in the Black Sea involving the British destroyer HMS Defender may have unpredictable consequences, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko said at the Moscow Conference on International Security on Thursday.
"Yesterday, we saw an illustration of an obviously deliberate incident, which may have the most serious consequences, including from the point of view of the escalation of actions that could lead to absolutely unpredictable consequences," he said.
According to Grushko, Western countries choose "a spiral of confrontation" instead of cooperation with Russia. "This situation is explosive, even if all parties remain prudent. Unintentional incidents, which can result in a real conflict, are not ruled out," he stressed.
"We cannot but be concerned that NATO is consistently building up its military presence along our borders, increasing the volume of air patrols, the number of drills, with its warships entering the Black, Baltic, and even the Barents Sea," Grushko added.
"Let me also note that, as a result of these activities, regions that are calm militarily are turning into an arena of absolutely unnecessary military confrontation. Such actions call into question the relevance of the document itself, the fundamental Russia-NATO act. We proceed from the assumption that it must be complied with," he concluded.
On Wednesday, the Russian Defense Ministry said that the Black Sea Fleet, acting in cooperation with the border guard force of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), stopped a violation of the state border by the British destroyer HMS Defender off Crimea's Cape Fiolent. The destroyer ventured three kilometers into Russia's territorial waters. A border guard patrol ship fired warning shots, and a Sukhoi-24M bomber dropped bombs ahead of the destroyer. After that, the HMS Defender left Russia's territorial waters.
The Russian Defense Ministry described the British warship's actions as a gross violation of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and urged London to investigate the crew's actions.