Russia ‘fires warning shots at Royal Navy destroyer’

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Russian forces fired “warning shots” at a Royal Navy destroyer after it entered the country’s territorial waters in the Black Sea, the Russian defence ministry has said.

A border patrol boat fired warning shots at HMS Defender and a Su-24M warplane dropped four bombs, the defence ministry said in a statement reported by the Russian Interfax news agency.

“The destroyer was warned in advance that weapons would be fired in case of a violation of the Russian state border. It disregarded the warning,” the statement said.

“As a result of joint actions of the Black Sea Fleet and the Border Service of the Russian Federal Security Service, HMS Defender left the territorial sea of the Russian Federation.”

The there was no immediate response to the statement from the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

HMS Defender – a Type 45 destroyer – is part of the UK Carrier Strike Group currently heading to the Indo-Pacific region.

However, it was announced earlier this month that it would be temporarily breaking away from the group to carry out its “own set of missions” in the Black Sea.

The reported incident took place off the coast of Crimea, which was annexed by Russia from Ukraine in 2014.

Tensions in the region have been running high for some months.

In April the United States scrapped plans to deploy two of its destroyers to the Black Sea amid concerns over a build-up of Russian forces on the Ukrainian border.

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