Russians Warn British, Next Time Shots May Hit Intruder Vessel
June 25, 2021 (EIRNS)—The Russians are not fooling around. Russian officials are making clear that should there be another provocation such as that by the Royal Navy’s HMS Defender on June 23, the shells and bombs will land on the deck of the intruder. “It is impossible to hide the indignation over the U.K. Ministry of Defense’s statement that the mentioned destroyer allegedly ‘conducted an innocent passage through Ukrainian territorial waters.’ I have to warn the ex-‘ruler of the waves,’ that next time, such a decision is taken, bombs will be dropped not ahead of the target, but on the target,” head of the Russian delegation to the security and arms controls negotiations in Vienna Konstantin Gavrilov warned in a statement issued at the June 23 OSCE meeting on cooperation in security and was published on June 24, reported TASS.
Gavrilov was backed up by Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov. “We may appeal to common sense and demand respect for international law,” he said, reported the Guardian. “But if it does not help, we may drop bombs not only in the path [of the ship] but also on the target itself, if colleagues do not understand.”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov made very clear that the Russian Federation regards the intrusion into Crimean territorial waters by the HMS Defender to be a very deliberate provocation. “We consider that the British destroyer has carried out provocation. Moreover, we regret as this was deliberate and prepared provocation,” he said. “Of course, we are concerned over the actions of the British vessel. We consider such actions unacceptable, they are in violation of international law.”
Peskov reported that Moscow will take appropriate diplomatic measures. “It is better to address [this question] to the Foreign Ministry. You know that there were contacts with British diplomats and military diplomats there,” he said, responding to the question whether Russia would apply to international organizations in connection with the incident. “Of course, Russia will do what it should do in this situation through diplomatic channels.”
At the same time, Peskov refused to speculate on what effect the incident might have on U.K.-Russian relations going forward. “We do regret that such an incident took place, and we regret that it was obviously prepared. However, we would not like to portray this as a trend. We would not even like to assume that such provocations may become systematic,” he said.
During his remarks at the Moscow Conference on International security, Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko warned yesterday that the incident will have unpredictable consequences. “Yesterday, we saw an illustration of an obviously deliberate incident, which may have the most serious consequences, including from the point of view of the escalation of actions that could lead to absolutely unpredictable consequences,” he said. According to Grushko, Western countries choose “a spiral of confrontation” instead of cooperation with Russia. “This situation is explosive, even if all parties remain prudent. Unintentional incidents, which can result in a real conflict, are not ruled out,” he stressed.
Grushko said that he hopes that the West will learn from the incident. “In this case, we demonstrated with our military and political actions that we will ensure our interests 100%, there can be no doubt about that,” Grushko said.
“In the military sphere, all decisions should be weighed. I am sure that yesterday’s incident will be the subject of professional inquiries. ... If we talk about our general approach to such incidents, our position is well known. We offered all NATO states to join the talks on improving the existing agreements on avoiding or preventing dangerous incidents, including those of an accidental nature, at sea, in the air, or in contact zones in general,”
Britain’s Ambassador to Moscow Deborah Bronnert was called to the Foreign Ministry but left without comment, refusing to answer reporters’ questions as she departed, reported TASS.
“The Ambassador was presented with a decisive protest regarding the violation of the Russian border and the provocative and dangerous actions of the Royal Navy ship in the Russian territorial waters, which Russia views as a blatant violation of the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. A special attention was drawn to the fact that, should similar provocations happen again, the responsibility for their potential consequences will rest entirely with the U.K.,”
Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement, afterwards.