Thursday, 24th June: A Russian Diplomat administered a remarkably serious warning to the Royal Navy upon the destroyer- HMS Defender transit off the Sevastopol coast. The warning addressed the unusual voyages conducted by the Royal Navy through Russian waters.
HMS Defender was located 10 nm of the Sevastopol coast, Crimea on Wednesday. Sevastopol, Crimea is the home of the Black Sea Fleet, of the Russian Navy. Following the freedom of navigation (FONOP) transit, Defender was pursued by "on the course" bombardments, live bombs and warning shots stated the Ministry of Defence, Russia. However, the Ministry of Defence, UK refutes the above statement, saying that no warning shots were fired.
On Thursday, Sergei Ryabkov (Deputy Foreign Minister, Russia) explained the Russian media, and said, “We may appeal to reason and demand to respect international law. If it doesn’t help, we may drop bombs and not just in the path but right on target, if colleagues don’t get it otherwise. . . . Those who try to test our strength are taking high risks."
Innocent transit in different nation's water by any ship is allowed according to the UN Convention's Law of the Seas. UK comprehends Ukraine as the state responsible for the Crimean peninsula waters, as distinct NATO members. Though, the peninsula was annexed in 2014 by Russia. Yet the area involved in Wednesday's occurrence does not acknowledge Russian sovereignty.
"We believe that the British destroyer staged a provocation. Moreover, we regret that it was a deliberate and prepared provocation," added Dmitry Peskov ( presidential spokesman, Russia) on the same day. "In our opinion, such activities are unacceptable and are at odds with international law."
Russian warship routinely passes through the English Channel of the UK territorial seas, exercising innocent transit rights. This route is the shortest between the Baltic Fleet and the Balck Sea Fleet of the Russian navy. Concerning international law, these vessels are accompanied by the Royal Navy to continue transit undisturbed.
In recent years, the Russian navy has been highly involved in the UK territorial seas. Ben Wallace (Defence Secretary, UK) marked Russia as UK's "number one adversary threat", and highlighted the sighting of Russian vessels over 150 times since 2013 in the UK waters.