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26 Aug, 2021 12:25

If Britain violates Russian territorial waters again, Moscow's forces will make things ‘much more difficult,’ ambassador warns

If Britain violates Russian territorial waters again, Moscow's forces will make things ‘much more difficult,’ ambassador warns

Moscow’s ambassador to the United Kingdom, Andrey Kelin, has warned London that there will be consequences in the event of a repeat of the incident in June when a British ship crossed into Russian territorial waters near Crimea.

Speaking to state broadcaster the BBC, Kelin urged Britain not to try the same maneuver again, suggesting that the Kremlin would not hesitate to order decisive action to protect its sovereignty. He explained that the Russian Navy would make it “more difficult” for a repeat incident to happen.

On June 23, the British warship HMS Defender purposely violated Russia’s territorial waters, crossing three kilometers (two miles) over the border near Cape Fiolent, on the Crimean Peninsula. While Moscow described the incident as breaking the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, London said the boat had passed peacefully through Ukrainian waters. Following the incident, the British ambassador in Moscow was summoned to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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Crimea, which has been a part of Russia since 2014, is recognized by most of the world as Ukrainian territory, and therefore London believes the waters surrounding the peninsula are also rightfully controlled by Kiev.

“The British warship was in the territory of the Russian Federation without warning, which has to be done at least an hour in advance. Besides, it did not observe the laws and rules of Russia, which it was obliged to do according to the Maritime Convention,” Kelin said.

The ambassador went on to suggest that the incident was not an “innocent” passage, as claimed by the British government, but was a demonstration that the waters belong to Ukraine, which, according to Kelin, “is not at all a fact of life.”

“Next time, it will be much more difficult for them,” he said.

He denied any threat of military force, however.

Also on rt.com Stay away from waters near Crimea or British sailors risk facing the full might of Russia’s Armed Forces, Moscow warns London

Last month, Russian Security Council Deputy Secretary Mikhail Popov spoke more directly, warning London that the country's navy would use the “harshest methods” to “foil such actions.”

“We suggest that our opponents think long and hard about plotting such provocations and consider the capabilities of the Russian Armed Forces,” he said.

Aggregator Global Firepower suggests that the Russian military is the second strongest in the world, and almost three times more powerful than the British equivalent, which is ranked eighth.

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