Classified documents from Britain’s defence ministry containing details about a British warship and Russia’s potential reaction to its passage through the Black Sea have been found at a bus stop in southern England, the BBC reported on Sunday (June 27).
The BBC said the documents, almost 50 pages in all, were found “in a soggy heap behind a bus stop in Kent early on Tuesday morning” by a member of the public, who wanted to remain anonymous.
The Ministry of Defence said it had been informed last week of “an incident in which sensitive defence papers were recovered by a member of the public”. The government said an investigation had been launched.
The documents relating to the Royal Navy’s Type 45 destroyer, HMS Defender, show that a mission described by the MoD as an “innocent passage through Ukrainian territorial waters”, with guns covered and the ship’s helicopter stowed in its hangar, was conducted in the expectation that Russia might respond aggressively.
Russia said on Wednesday it had fired warning shots and dropped bombs in the path of the ship to chase it out of what the Kremlin says are its territorial waters but which most of the world say belong to Ukraine.
Britain rejected Russia’s account of the incident. It said it believed any shots fired were a pre-announced Russian “gunnery exercise”, and that no bombs had been dropped.
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