The Ministry of Defence has denied Russian claims that warning shots and bombs were fired at Royal Navy destroyer HMS Defender near Crimea on Wednesday.
Russia claimed an Su-24 dropped four bombs in the path of the vessel in the Black Sea after Russia accused it of entering its waters near Cape Fiolent.
The defence ministry said a patrol ship opened fire at 12.06pm and shot again two minutes later at the destroyer which is on exercises with US, Dutch and Ukrainian forces.
Around ten minutes later, the Su-24 dropped four OFAB-250s in the path of the British vessel, forcing it to retreat after it ventured two miles inside their waters, Russia claim.
The ministry alleged the destroyer refused to listen to radio warnings before the shots were fired.
But the MoD has flatly denied the claims, saying: ‘No warning shots have been fired at HMS Defender.
‘The Royal Navy ship is conducting innocent passage through Ukrainian territorial waters in accordance with international law.
‘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.’
An Su-24 dropped four bombs in the path of the vessel in the Black Sea after Russia accused it of entering its waters near Cape Fiolent, Russia claims
A picture taken on Friday shows a ship from the Russian Black Sea Fleet (circled) shadowing USS Laboon , HMS Defender and the frigate HNLMS Evertsen
The Ministry of Defence has flatly denied Russia’s claims, saying no warning shots were fired
The British military attaché to Moscow has now been summoned to the Russian defence ministry after the alleged incident.
‘The destroyer had been warned that weapons would be used if it trespasses the border of the Russian Federation. It did not react to the warning,’ the Russian ministry said.
Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine in 2014 in a move condemned by the West which still considers it Ukrainian territory.
Britain has previously claimed its warships ships stationed are in international or Ukrainian waters.
A Russian military ship allegedly fired warning shots at British Royal Navy destroyer HMS Defender after it entered Russian waters (file image)
The ministry’s TV channel Zvezda reported: ‘The Black Sea Fleet together with the FSB (security service) stopped a violation of the Russian border by a British destroyer Defender.
‘Today, at 11:52, the Defender crossed the state border of Russia in the northwestern part of the Black Sea.
‘It entered the territorial waters for three kilometres, in the area of Cape Fiolent.
‘Previously warned about the use of weapons in the event of a violation of the border, the British ship did not react to this in any way.
‘At 12:06 and 12:08, a Russian border patrol ship fired a warning shot.
‘At 12:19, the Su-24M aircraft of the Black Sea Fleet performed a warning bombing, dropping 4 OFAB-250 bombs on the course of the destroyer.
‘At 12:23 the British destroyer left the borders of the territorial sea of Russia.’
The Defender had earlier visited Ukrainian Naval port Odessa.
On Tuesday, HMS Defender sent a messages of thanks to Odesa as it continued its operations in the Black Sea
The destroyer had been on operations in the Black Sea with American navy guided missile destroyer USS Laboon and Dutch warship HNLMS Evertsen in a show of support for Ukraine following Putin’s recent vast military build up close to Ukrainian borders.
Russia has said in recent days that it was closely monitoring HMS Defender.
An earlier image taken from Royal Navy destroyer HMS Defender showed Russian frigate Admiral Essen ‘shadowing’ USS Laboon.
Russia’s national defence control centre said: ‘Forces and systems of the [Russian] Black Sea Fleet have started monitoring the movements of the Royal Navy HMS Defender and the Dutch Navy’s Evertsen frigate.’
The fleet’s former commander Admiral Vladimir Komoyedov said: ‘Those ships will definitely not be welcome here.
‘No-one is going to greet them as guests of honour, while their actions will definitely be monitored.
The destroyer (pictured) had been on operations in the Black Sea with American navy guided missile destroyer USS Laboon and Dutch warship HNLMS Evertsen
‘They will be put under direct surveillance, technically, from the air and from outer space.’
The Russian fleet was enhancing ‘its combat preparedness, especially the readiness of air defence crews and particular standby forces’ with the presence of the NATO ships, he said.
They were being subjected to ‘close monitoring’.
‘Their visits to the Black Sea have become too frequent,’ said Komoyedov. ‘Their intensified presence has gone too far.
‘They are complying with the Montreux Convention, but the activity of ships from non-Black Sea countries has never been so intensive before, even in the Soviet period.’
The USS Laboon is in the Black Sea ‘to conduct maritime security operations in the region’, the United States Sixth Fleet said on Twitter.
Crew: Two (pilot, weapons operator)
Wingspan: 57ft 10ins
Top speed: 1,027mph
Max altitude: 36,090ft
Power: 2 x turbojets
Armament: 23mm cannon, laser-guided air-to-surface and air-to-air missiles, unguided rocket launchers, general purpose and tactical nuclear bombs
Class: Type 45 Destroyer
Displacement: 8,000 tons
Top speed: 35mph+
Armament: Sea Viper air defence system, Aster 15 and 30 missiles, 2 quad Harpoon anti-ship missile launchers, armed Lynx Wildcat / Westland Merlin helicopters, various naval guns
The destroyer is capable of carrying up to 56 Tomahawk cruise missiles.
In a blast last month General Vladimir Kulishov, deputy director of the FSB security service, claimed that Royal Navy destroyer HMS Dragon had to be ‘expelled’ by the Russians ‘warnings’ not to enter ‘Russian territorial waters’ off annexed Crimea.
‘The destroyer Dragon of the British Navy crossed the state border of the Russian Federation in the area of Cape Khersones in the Black Sea,’ said the counterintelligence chief.
‘The destroyer’s captain responded with a poor signal to the demand to immediately leave Russian territorial waters,’ he said.
‘As a result of the joint actions with the Russian Navy and the Russian Aerospace Forces, the warship was expelled into neutral waters.’
British sources flatly denied the FSB claim which related to an incident in October last year.
‘The Russian Federation Navy did not impede HMS Dragon’s passage. She navigated without incident, exercising our right of innocent passage under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea,’ said a Ministry of Defence spokesperson in London.
‘HMS Dragon was taking the most direct route between two port visits, navigating a recognised safe route for all international shipping within Ukrainian waters.’
Russia is known to have deployed submarine Veliky Novogorod to track HMS Dragon.