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Kremlin sees incident with British destroyer as 'deliberate provocation'

Russia threatens to ‘bomb on target’ in case of border violation

Elena Teslova   | 24.06.2021
Kremlin sees incident with British destroyer as 'deliberate provocation'

MOSCOW

Russia sees the incident with the British Defender destroyer as a “deliberate provocation,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday.

Moscow considers the “unacceptable” actions of the destroyer's crew a violation of international law, Peskov told reporters in Moscow.

"We believe that the British destroyer committed a provocation. Moreover, we regret that this was a deliberate and prepared provocation. We are certainly concerned about such actions of the British ship. We consider such actions unacceptable and inconsistent with international law," he said.

Peskov warned that the Russian border guards and armed forces will continue to take "a fairly tough position against such provocations strictly in accordance with international law."

"If unacceptable provocative actions are repeated, if these actions go too far, no actions can be excluded in terms of the legitimate protection of the borders of the Russian Federation," he said.

In a separate statement, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said Russia “can bomb on target” in case of its border violation.

He warned against "provocative steps under slogans of freedom of navigation," saying they are fraught with "the most difficult consequences."

"We can appeal to common sense, demand respect for international law. If this does not help, we can bomb not only on the course but also on the target, if our colleagues do not understand.

"The territorial integrity of the Russian Federation is inviolable. The inviolability of its borders is an absolute imperative, we will guard all this by both diplomatic and political means and if necessary by military means," he said.

Ryabkov dubbed the incident with the British Royal Navy destroyer as "very serious" and condemned the actions of the British military.

On Wednesday, the Russian Defense Ministry said the country's border guards stopped a British Royal Navy destroyer -- HMS Defender -- that Russia said was violating its waters.

According to the ministry, the Defender entered Russian territorial waters near Cape Fiolent in the Black Sea and did not respond to warnings of the Russian coastal forces, it only turned back when warning shots were fired.

The British Defense Ministry rejected the Russian claims that warning shots were fired at one of its vessels in the Black Sea, saying the Royal Navy ship was conducting "innocent passage through Ukrainian territorial waters in accordance with international law."

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova called "lies" London's reaction to the incident and promised that "a complex response will be given in such situations."

Russian Foreign Ministry summons British ambassador

The Russian Foreign Ministry said it summoned British Ambassador Deborah Bronnert and lodged "a decisive protest" over the incident with the destroyer.

The ambassador was told that Moscow sees the actions of a British Navy ship in the territorial sea of the Russian Federation "as a gross non-compliance with the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea," the ministry said.

"Special attention was paid to the fact that in case of repetition of such provocations, the entire responsibility for their possible consequences will lie entirely on the British side," it said.

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