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Kremlin says US is behind provocation with British destroyer

Such operations are basically planned by senior partners from overseas, Dmitry Peskov said
Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov Sergei Karpukhin/TASS
Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov
© Sergei Karpukhin/TASS

MOSCOW, July 4. /TASS/. Provocations similar to the one involving the British destroyer HMS Defender in Russia’s territorial waters off Crimea are masterminded in the United States, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Sunday.

"I think our intelligence certainly knows who made a decision there [in the situation with the British destroyer]. But certainly I think such operations are basically planned by senior partners from overseas," Kremlin told Moscow. Kremlin. Putin TV program on Rossiya-1 channel.

According to him, "in this case the destroyer was just a tool of provocation."

"And President [Vladimir Putin] explained that thus some weak spots are sounded out both in the system of monitoring the border integrity and the response system. This is a deliberate and well-planned provocation," he stressed.

Respond to provocations

Russia will respond harshly to provocations similar to the incident with the British destroyer, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told.

"This is indeed so," Peskov said, agreeing with a stance that in such situations Moscow will act harshly. He commented on a remark that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s reaction "was very harsh and it is clear that no provocations should be repeated, the response will be in accordance with the charter that says - to sink."

Meanwhile, the Kremlin spokesman noted that he does not back the discussion on such doomsday scenarios. "But obviously, the reaction will be certainly harsh," he stressed.

"And most importantly, as the president said, that information that the reconnaissance plane obtained is not that information that they soughed to get, but this was that information that the Russian side believed it necessary to provide," Peskov said.

The Kremlin spokesman also noted that during this Q&A session Putin revealed the number of the reconnaissance jet’s tail number. "Someone even joked [during the event] that the president will now give the first and last names of this plane’s pilots and even their address," he said.

Russia’s Defense Ministry reported on June 23 that the Black Sea Fleet jointly with the border guards of the Federal Security Service (FSB) halted a violation of the state border by the UK Navy’s guided missile destroyer Defender off Crimea’s Fiolent Cape.

The British warship ventured three kilometers into the Russian territorial waters. A Russian guard ship fired warning shots while a Su-24M bomber dropped bombs in the UK warship’s path to chase it out of Crimean waters.

The Russian Defense Ministry slammed the UK destroyer’s operations as a gross violation of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and urged the British side to investigate the warship crew’s actions. London claims that the destroyer was conducting an "innocent passage through Ukrainian territorial waters." According to the UK, the Russian military did not fire any shots at the destroyer but conducted "a gunnery exercise."

On June 30, Putin said at his annual Q&A session that the situation with the British destroyer was a complex provocation "held both by Britons 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 on Crete in Greece.