Russian Jets, Ships Target British Warship
More than 20 Russian aircraft and two coastguard ships have shadowed a British warship sailing near Crimea. Moscow’s defence ministry said a patrol ship fired warning shots and a jet dropped bombs in the path of HMS Defender as it sailed some 12 miles off Crimea’s coast. The UK government rejected Russia’s account of the incident and denied that any warning shots had been fired. A BBC correspondent on the warship said it was harassed by Russia’s military. Statements from both the British prime minister’s office and defence ministry, denied any confrontation. HMS Defender was sailing from Odessa in southern Ukraine to Georgia. To get there, it passed South of the Crimea peninsula, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014 in a move that has not been recognised internationally. While Moscow claims the peninsula and its waters are Russian territory, the UK says HMS Defender was passing through Ukrainian waters in a commonly used and internationally recognised transit route.