UK Ministry of Defence denied that Russian assets opened warning fires near the British Type 45-class destroyer HMS Defender via Twitter.
“The Royal Navy ship is conducting innocent passage through Ukrainian territorial waters in accordance with international law.” said Uk MoD in the tweet.
According to British sources, Russia has already planned this live-firing incident and promulgated it with NOTMAR (Notice to Mariners) a few days before the incident.
“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.” UK MoD confirmed with its tweet.
UK Minister of Defence, Ben Wallace said: “This morning, HMS Defender carried out a routine transit from Odesa towards Georgia across the Black Sea. As is normal for this route, she entered an internationally recognised traffic separation corridor. She exited that corridor safely at 0945 BST. As is routine, Russian vessels shadowed her passage and she was made aware of training exercises in her wider vicinity.” about the incident.
According to the Navy Lookout website, while Defender and Evertsen were safely alongside in Odesa, their Automatic Identification System (AIS) signals which transmit position details as an aid to maritime safety were faked. AIS showed the two ships provocatively heading directly to a position within two nautical miles of the Russian naval base at Sevastapol. They mention AIS spoofing and Russian disinformation on different platforms.
BBC Defence reporter, Johnathan Beale, was on board HMS Defender and witnessed the whole incident. He said that shots were heard but they were well away from the ship. He also confirmed the ship has been at action stations and was being harassed by ships, aircraft with hostile warnings issued via radio.
Naval Post Comment: Russia’s aggressive attitude seems to carry on. It has been trying to show determination especially in the vicinity of Crimea that was annexed by the Russian Federation between February and March 2014. European countries don’t recognize the annexation. Ukrainian-led Sea Breeze 2021 exercise will kick off in four days. Though hosted by Ukraine, the 6th fleet of the U.S. Navy cohosts this exercise series and starring during the execution of the exercise. This year’s iteration was announced as the largest attendance, 32 countries in total. Russia’s reaction to the exercise is a matter of curiosity, but not hard to guess.
Check out Naval Library App to find out the specifications of the Type 45 destroyers.