Russia says incident like HMS Defender provocation will elicit a tough response

Russia has said a British warship it accused of illegally entering its waters carried out the kind of provocation that will elicit a tough response, the RIA news agency cited the Kremlin as saying.

Russia summoned the British ambassador in Moscow for a formal diplomatic rebuke after HMS Defender breached what the Kremlin says are its territorial waters near Crimea.

Britain and most of the world say the waters belong to the Ukraine.

Moscow said the British vessel had illegally entered its territorial waters last month and accused London of a “provocation”.

The Russian Defence Ministry released footage it said showed HMS Defender being “chased out of Crimea waters” by military aircraft and vessels.

Britain had dismissed Moscow’s claims that warning shots were fired at the Royal Navy destroyer and that bombs were dropped in the warship’s path.

The Russian Defence Ministry said a border patrol boat fired the shots at HMS Defender.

Russia has said it could bomb British naval vessels if there are more such actions by the Royal Navy off Crimea.

It comes as Russian warplanes practised bombing enemy ships in the Black Sea during training exercises on Saturday.

Russia was quoted by the RIA news agency as saying: “Aircraft crews … conducted training flights over the Black Sea, practicing missile and bombing strikes against simulated enemy ships.”

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The drills involved aircraft including Sukhoi Su-30SM multi-purpose fighters, Sukhoi Su-24M bombers, Sukhoi Su-34
fighter-bombers and Sukhoi Su-27 fighter jets, the report said.

NATO, Ukraine and allies are also conducting large-scale Sea Breeze drills in the region.

Those drills are set to last two weeks and involve about 5,000 military personnel from NATO and other allies, and around
30 ships and 40 aircraft, with U.S. missile destroyer USS Ross and the U.S. Marine Corps taking part.

Moscow had called for the exercise to be cancelled and the Russian defence ministry has said it will react to safeguard
national security if necessary.

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