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Russian President Characterizes HMS Defender Incident as ‘Absolutely Clear’ Provocation

June 30, 2021 (EIRNS)—Russian President Vladimir Putin exposed the incursion of the Royal Navy destroyer HMS Defender into Russian territorial waters near Crimea on June 23 as a deliberate U.S.-British provocation, during his annual “Direct Line with Vladimir Putin” Q&A session with the Russian public today.

“This is, of course, a provocation, which is absolutely clear. What did these provocateurs want to show and what goals did they seek to achieve? First of all, it [the provocation] was comprehensive and was staged not only by the British, but also by the Americans, because the British warship ventured into our territorial waters in the afternoon, while early in the morning, at 07:30, a U.S. strategic reconnaissance plane took off from a NATO airfield in Greece, from Crete,”

Putin said, reported TASS. “We saw and observed it clearly.”

The U.S. reconnaissance aircraft, an RC-135V equipped to collect signals intelligence, was trackable at the time on flight tracking websites but this is the first known time that its presence has been mentioned outside of this news agency’s June 23 report on the incident.

“It was obvious that the destroyer intruded in pursuit of military aims, trying to find out with the help of a reconnaissance plane what our armed forces’ countermeasures to this sort of provocation might be, to see what facilities are activated, where they are located and how they work,” Putin explained.

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