Russia: jets heard overflying a British ship during a clash in the Black Sea
The UK has refuted Moscow’s claims that a Royal Navy ship was the target of warning fire in the Black Sea earlier today. The Defense Ministry was responding to a Russian statement that a warplane dropped four bombs near the ship after venturing three kilometers into Crimean waters. The ship, HMS Defender, was sailing off the coast of the heavily contested territory which is annexed by Russia.
It is a route which was a “routine transit from Odessa to Georgia across the Black Sea” using an “internationally recognized traffic separation corridor”, according to British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace.
He added that “Russian ships monitored its passage” and that the crew of the warship informed those “in its wider vicinity”, while other defense sources note that the Russians were training in shooting and exercising planes in the area.
But concerns over growing tensions with Russia have grabbed the headlines several times in recent years, especially after alleged cyberattacks from Moscow and the fury over the poisoning of Salisbury in 2018.
Concern over increasingly strained relations even led former British Army chief General Sir Nick Carter to issue a stern warning about the future three years ago.
The head of the British army warned of an “unexpected” escalation of Russia before a new quarrel: “We will be losers! ”
HMS Destroyer, the Royal Navy warship that made headlines this week
The then chief of staff said Russia’s actions posed the greatest state threat to Britain since the Cold War – and even warned that the conflict could escalate sooner than expected.
He said Russia presented “the most complex and capable security challenge we have faced since the Cold War”.
Speaking to the Royal United Services Institute, he said: “The risk we run by not defining this clearly and acting on it is that rather like a chronic contagious disease, it will invade us, and our ability to action will be markedly limited – and we will be the losers in this competition.
He also highlighted how Russia could undermine the US-led NATO alliance.
Sir Carter continued: “It will start with something we do not expect.
“We shouldn’t take what we’ve seen so far as a model for the future.”
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He also warned: “Russia could start hostilities sooner than expected, and much sooner than we would under similar circumstances. “
The former military figurehead also said an attack could take a variety of forms, from corruption and cyber attacks to fake news and military intimidation.
Yet he concluded: “This is not a crisis, or a series of crises, that we are facing. It is a strategic challenge, and it requires a strategic response.
Ewen McAskill, the Guardian’s at the time defense correspondent, also speculated: “Carter may be stirring up the threat from Russia in an attempt to deter it from launching a major cyber attack on the UK. or any action against NATO in the Baltic States, where British forces are deployed.
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“It may also be aimed at trying to persuade the Treasury to increase the Defense Ministry budget upon completion of a planned strategic defense review.”
Just two months before General Sir Carter’s powerful statement, Boris Johnson – then Foreign Secretary – warned Russia that Britain can and will match Russia in cyber warfare.
In response, his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov said: “Our relations are at an all-time low. You prefer to talk about the reasons why publicly.
Months after that meeting, Mr Johnson also ended a ‘tit for tat’ battle between Russia and the UK when public fear over the use of the deadly nerve agent Novichok in Salisbury was overwhelmed. a record high.
The Kremlin has also said that if the UK shows “political will,” Russian President Vladimir Putin would be willing to meet face to face with Mr Johnson.
Claiming the attack was a response to the UK’s condemnation of Russia’s international actions, Mr Johnson said: “We knew there would be risks in opposing the Kremlin – resisting a tyrant is still risky, but we did it anyway because we knew it was right.
“So I think what happened in Salisbury was, at least in part, how the Kremlin fought back against Britain for firmly opposing its appalling behavior.”
There have since been allegations that Moscow meddled in the UK election, but a judge recently rejected an attempt by MPs to force the PM to investigate the case.
The Kremlin has also said that if the UK shows “political will,” Russian President Vladimir Putin would be willing to meet face-to-face with Mr Johnson, although that seems unlikely at this time.
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This notice was published: 2021-06-23 18:05:00