VLADIVOSTOK, July 8. /TASS/. Russian liberals wanted Moscow to grin and bear London’s insult over the incident with Britain’s HMS Defender that violated Russia’s territorial waters in the Black Sea, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in his speech at Far Eastern Federal University on Thursday.
According to Lavrov, the West is trying to influence Russians’ patriotic sentiment through some liberals in Russia. "Some liberal critics of the authorities said, ‘why did you have to chase it away, well, what would have happened if it had passed through Crimea? Our relations have hit rock bottom, and you are burying them even deeper’. That is, swallow the direct insult, and spit on the will of the Crimean people, who have chosen first independence, then reunification with their historical homeland," he noted.
Lavrov also recalled the comments by liberals during Russia’s military drills near Ukraine’s border. "The exercises are over, the troops have returned to their permanent bases, and the West is not on its territory, but it has sent tens of thousands of soldiers and tens of thousands of offensive weapons to the line of contact with Russia from all over the world," he said. According to him, Western politicians pretended that they had threatened Moscow, and then it pulled out its forces.
"And no one wants to hear that these were openly declared exercises, which ended after the tasks had been fulfilled. And our liberals stated after that: what happened - [US leader Joe] Biden called [Russian President Vladimir] Putin, and then the troops were moved from the Ukrainian border," he said.
On June 23, the Russian Defense Ministry informed of the HMS Destroyer’s intrusion into Russia’s territorial waters in Crimea. Russian military and border control fired warning shot ahead of the ship, forcing it to leave Russia’s territorial waters. The Russian Defense Ministry called the destroyer’s actions a blatant violation of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
On June 30, Putin stated on his annual Direct Line TV program that the situation with the British destroyer was a complex provocation "conducted both by the British and Americans". The Russian leader pointed out that the British warship ventured into Russia’s territorial waters in the afternoon while early in the morning, at 07:30, a US strategic reconnaissance plane took off from a NATO airfield in Crete, Greece.