The UK government thinks that the actions of British destroyer HMS Defender in the Black Sea did not violate international law, a spokesperson for UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Wednesday, commenting on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s statement in which he called the incident a provocation.
"This Royal Navy ship was conducting innocent passage through Ukrainian territorial waters in accordance with international law," the spokesperson said, quoted by the PA news agency.
On Wednesday, Putin said during his annual Q&A session that the situation with the British destroyer was a complex provocation "held both by the British and the Americans." The Russian leader added that the British destroyer's intrusion into Russia's territorial waters pursued reconnaissance aims.
On June 23, the Russian Defense Ministry reported that the Black Sea Fleet and the Federal Security Service border control service thwarted a violation of the Russian border by HMS Defender near Crimea’s Cape Fiolent. The destroyer reportedly traveled 3 kilometers into Russia’s territorial waters. A guard ship fired warning shots, followed by several bombs, dropped from a Su-24M plane ahead of the Defender, after which the destroyer left Russian waters. The Russian Defense Ministry viewed 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.
London claims that the destroyer was conducting an "innocent passage through Ukrainian territorial waters." According to London, the Russian military did not fire any shots at the destroyer, but conducted "practice firing."