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Reuters reports Russian forces fire warning shots & drop bombs in path of Royal Navy destroyer in Black Sea

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British Royal Navy's Type 45 destroyer HMS Defender arrives for a port visit in Istanbul, Turkey June 9, 2021. REUTERS/Yoruk Isik/File Photo

MOSCOW, June 23 (Reuters) - A Russian military ship fired warning shots at a British Royal Navy destroyer after it entered Russian waters in the Black Sea, and a Russian jet dropped bombs in its path as a warning, Interfax cited Russia's defence ministry as saying on Wednesday.

The British Ministry of Defence did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The HMS Defender left Russian waters soon after the incident, having ventured as much as 3 kilometres (2 miles) inside, the Russian ministry said, adding that the confrontation took place near Cape Fiolent, a landmark on the coast of Crimea.

Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine in 2014 in a move condemned by the West which still considers it Ukrainian territory.

"The destroyer had been warned that weapons would be used if it trespasses the border of the Russian Federation. It did not react to the warning," it said.

A Russian bomber dropped four high explosive fragmentation bombs as a warning in the British destroyer's path, according to the Russian ministry.


Update from the UK

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Here's the Russian news agency Interfax statement.

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MOSCOW. June 23 (Interfax) - The Russian military fired warning shots on the course of the British destroyer HMS Defender that entered Russian territorial waters in the Black Sea off shore Cape Fiolent, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement.

"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 ministry said.

"The British Navy destroyer HMS Defender operating in the northwestern part of the Black Sea crossed the state border of the Russian Federation at 11:52 a.m. on June 23 of this year and entered the territorial sea in the area of Cape Fiolent, moving three kilometers inside," the ministry said.

A border patrol ship fired warning shots at 12:06 p.m. and 12:08 p.m. Later on, at 12:19 p.m., a Su-24M aircraft dropped bombs (four OFAB-250 high explosive fragmentation bombs) as a warning on the course of HMS Defender, the ministry 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 at 12:23 p.m.," the ministry said.

"The Black Sea Fleet acting together with the Border Service of the Russian Federal Security Service put an end to the Russian state border violation by the British Navy destroyer HMS Defender," the ministry said.

The 250-kilogram high explosive fragmentation bomb (OFAB-250) is a universal air bomb effective against military-industrial sites, lightly armored and unprotected vehicles, and personnel. They can also be used to hit planes parked outdoors, artillery weapons in protected and unprotected positions, vehicles (rolling stock, motor transport, sea and river vessels), fuel and lubricant warehouses, pontoons and personnel of the enemy.

The Russian National Defense Control Center said on June 14 that the Russian Navy was monitoring the activity of HMS Defender of the British Navy and the Dutch Navy frigate HNLMS Evertsen that arrived in the Black Sea.