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Russia fires warning shots as British Destoyer in Black Sea; UK denies

Moscow on Wednesday said its warship fired warning shots after British Royal Navy destroyer, HMS Defender, violated Russia's maritime borders in the Black Sea.

"At 11:52 am on 23 June, the HMS Defender of the British Royal Navy, operating in the northwestern part of the Black Sea, violated the border and entered three kilometres into Russian territorial waters in the region of Cape Fiolent," the Russian Ministry of Defence said in a press statement.

According to the military, the British warship was warned that deadly force would be used if it violated Russia's borders. The ship was said to have ignored the warning, Sputnik reported.

"At 12:06 and 12:08, a border patrol vessel carried out warning shots. At 12:19 a Su-24M carried out a warning bombing run using 4 OFAB-250 [hihgh-explosive fragmentation] bombs at the HMS Defender's path of movement," the statement added.

"At 12:23 the combined actions of the Black Sea Fleet and the Border Forces of the FSB forced the HMS Defender to leave the territorial waters of the Russian Federation," it further said.

Meanwhile, UK has denied that any warning shots were fired, saying its warship was conducting an "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 recognize the claim that bombs were dropped in her path," the UK Defence Ministry said in a pair of tweets. (ANI)

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