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Russian Navy ship sends 'warning shots' in Royal Navy encounter
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The Royal Navy vessel was at the centre of a tense row between Russia and the UK after Russian military officials claimed the destroyer had been challenged by a patrol ship. Russia boasted the HMS Defender had been forced away from a contested part of the Black Sea, a claim denied by the Royal Navy. Footage of the encounter has now been released which captures the moment the Russian coast guard vessels opened fire in a warning to the British warship.
Russia’s Federal Security Bureau (FSB) released the recording on Thursday which appears to have been taken on board the coast guard vessel that challenged HMS Defender.
“If you don’t change course to starboard, I will fire,” the coast guard vessel officer can be heard warning the British destroyer.
“You must immediately leave the territorial sea of the Russian Federation,” repeats the Russian captain.
He then turns to give order to his crew in Russian to “fire warning shots.”
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He commands: “Do not, repeat not hit the Defender. Confirm, over.”
Russian warplanes were reported to have also been deployed during the tense standoff on the coast of Sevastopol on Thursday.
BBC Defence Correspondent Jonathan Beale was on the Type 45 Destroyer during the encounter and had his report interrupted by the Russian jets.
Mr Beale said: “It said it was going through an internationally recognised shipping lane but while it was carrying out this transit…”
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After a pause during which planes can be heard passing over head, he continued: “That is another Russian warship buzzing the warship in the black sea.
“There have been at times more than 20 aircraft above the warship.
“There have been warnings from Russian coastguard vessels.
“Indeed we have heard shots fired, we believe they were out of range.”
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It comes after the Ministry of Defence denied Russia version of the event regarding the interception of HMS Defender by the Russian Navy.
A Ministry of Defence spokesperson said : “No warning shots have been fired at HMS Defender. The Royal Navy ship is conducting innocent passage through Ukrainian territorial waters in accordance with international law.
“We believe the Russians were undertaking a gunnery exercise in the Black Sea and provided the maritime community with prior warning of their activity.
“No shots were directed at HMS Defender and we do not recognise the claim that bombs were dropped in her path.”
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