MOSCOW, June 25. /TASS/. Russia does not rule out a tough response in case the United Kingdom ventures another provocation like the incident with the British HMS Defender off Russia’s Crimea, Russian Ambassador to the UK Andrei Kelin said on Friday.
"In case of further escalation, in case of recurrence of such provocation near Crimea’s coasts, I don’t rule out that we will have to respond quite toughly and escalation [of relations] will only continue," he said in an interview with the Rossiya-24 television channel.
"It is difficult to day to influence the Russian-British relations as they have been driven into a dead end and are nearly at a point of freezing," he admitted.
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.