Just days after President Joe Biden met with Russian President Vladimir Putin, an incident this week involved Russian warships and bombers allegedly firing warning shots toward a NATO-allied British warship in the Black Sea near Crimea.
Russian officials subsequently asserted that the bombs and shots would be “on target” if a similar incident arises in the future — and the Biden administration was suspiciously silent on the tacit threat of military force.
Britain defends its actions
According to Breitbart, the British HMS Defender engaged in what is known as a “freedom of navigation” maneuver this week by sailing through disputed waters near the Russian naval base Sevastopol.
The base is located in Crimea, which Russia invaded and claimed as its own in 2014 despite the fact that most of the international community continues to recognize it as Ukrainian territory.
Russian warplanes and ships responded to the British military maneuver by dropping bombs and firing warning shots at the vessel in a bid to divert its course. The U.K. subsequently denied that any shots were fired in the ship’s immediate vicinity.
Footage of Russian Black Sea Fleet and Border Service of the Federal Security Service’s prevention of the breach of the Russian Federation state border committed by the UK Navy destroyer «Defender» pic.twitter.com/4VnAlMjK4Y
— Минобороны России (@mod_russia) June 23, 2021
British Prime Minister defended the maneuver through what his nation asserts are still friendly Ukrainian waters.
Russia threatens direct attacks
As disconcerting as the recent encounter might have been, it pales in comparison to what Russia vows will come next.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov decried the U.K. incursion into what he claimed to be Russian waters, insisting that its borders would be vigorously defended “by all means, diplomatic, political, and military, if needed.”
He went on to suggest that Russia “may appeal to reason and demand to respect international law” in response to future incidents, adding that if that does not work, “we may drop bombs and not just in the path but right on target, if colleagues don’t get it otherwise.”
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov echoed those remarks, adding that if “unacceptable provocative actions are repeated, if those actions go too far, no options to legitimately protect the borders of the Russian Federation could be excluded.”
When pressed for a reaction to the provocative military rhetoric, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki simply stated: “I would point you to the British. We don’t have any more comment on it from here.”