Russian President Vladimir Putin is ready to take any measures to defend the country, but it is much better not to discuss bad scenarios, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on the round-the-clock television news channel Rossiya-24, when asked in the wake of the incident with a British destroyer off Crimea if the Russian leader was ready to give orders to open fire on NATO ships.
"Let us avoid discussing such scenarios," Peskov said. He explained that "words sometimes materialize, God forbid, so it is wrong even to think or speak about such things."
"But all of us, Russian people, should always remember, I think, that our president is always prepared to do everything that is required to defend the county," Peskov said.
In his words, the Russian government realizes the United Kingdom’s motives behind the move, TASS reports.
"It was a provocation, a pre-planned and deliberate one," he said.
On June 23, the Russian defense ministry said that the Black Sea Fleet and the Federal Security Service (FSB) border guard service had thwarted a violation of the Russian border by HMS Defender off Crimea’s Cape Fiolent. The destroyer reportedly traveled three kilometers into Russia’s territorial waters. A coastal guard ship fired warning shots, followed by several bombs dropped from a Su-24M plane ahead of the Defender, after which the destroyer left Russia’s territorial waters. The Russian defense ministry described the destroyer’s actions as a blatant violation of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, and called on London to investigate the actions of the crew.
The British side claims that the destroyer was conducting "innocent passage through Ukrainian territorial waters." According to London, the Russian military did not fire any shots at the destroyer, but conducted "practice firing."
On Thursday, Russia’s FSB released video footage showing warning shots fired in the direction of the British destroyer in the Black Sea. The footage shows that the Russian border guards repeatedly warned the HMS Defender that they would open fire if the destroyer crossed the Russian border, after which warning shots were fired.