UK plays down Crimean naval confrontation while Russia says ‘London has lost its manners’
On Thursday, a UK government minister announced that Britain was prepared to sail naval vessels through disputed waters near Crimea again. The statement comes just a day after a confrontation between a British warship and Russian forces in the Black Sea, sparking conflicting stories from both parties. Environment Secretary George Eustice publicly disputed claims from Moscow asserting that Russian warplanes dropped bombs and a patrol boat fired warning shots at a British destroyer entering into its territorial water in the Black Sea. Eustice stated that the event was normal and that Russian forces were conducting a gunnery exercise. Eustice stated that it was important that the nations “didn’t get carried away.”
In 2014, Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine following a military intervention despite international disapproval. The international community largely considers Crimea part of Ukraine despite the annexation. The Kremlin escalated the conflict on Thursday by asserting that the British warship conducted a deliberate and planned provocation. A Kremlin spokesperson stated that Russia was highly concerned over the actions, maintaining that Russia had the right to bomb on target when foreign ships violate its sea borders.