The Russian Ministry of Defense said its forces fired warning shots and dropped bombs after a British Navy destroyer entered its waters in the Black Sea on Wednesday.
The incident reportedly took place off the coast of Cape Fiolent on Crimea, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014.
The destroyer, HMS Defender, had ventured as much as 3km inside its territorial waters, the Russian MoD claimed. It added that a border patrol ship fired the warning shots while an Su-24 jet dropped four bombs in HMS Defender’s path, prompting the British vessel to turn around.
It is the first time since the Cold War that Moscow acknowledged using live ammunition to deter a NATO warship.
Denying Russian claims, the UK Ministry of Defense said, “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.”
British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said the U.K. vessel “carried out a routine transit from Odessa towards Georgia across the Black Sea.”
HMS Defender Type 45 destroyer is part of the U.K. Carrier Strike Group currently heading to the Indo-Pacific region. However, it was announced earlier this month that it would be temporarily breaking away from the group to carry out its “own set of missions” in the Black Sea.