UK: Classified threat assessment document for HMS Defender found at bus stop

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A “member of the public who wishes to remain anonymous” found 50 pages worth of documents of the British Ministry of Defense (MoD) in a soggy pile behind a Kent bus station, the BBC reported on Sunday.

Among the documents there is one in which MoD officials have outlined scenarios for the Russian side’s response to the British warship passing near the Crimea, and one of the scenarios is an aggressive Russian response.

As Remix News reported earlier, the Russian Defense Ministry said last Wednesday a warning shot was fired at a British destroyer by a Russian warship in the Black Sea. According to the information, the Russian Black Sea Fleet “stopped the border violation” together with the Russian Coast Guard.

The Russian military ministry states that the Defender destroyer violated Russian territorial waters near Cape Fiolent and did not respond to the warning that a weapon would be used against it. The Russian ministry also said that a Su-24M attack aircraft also dropped four bombs close to the ship. 

The British Ministry of Defense (MoD) said in a tweet about the HMS Defender — one of its six Daring-class missile destroyers — that “no warning shots have been fired at HMS Defender. The Royal Navy ship is conducting”innocent passage through Ukrainian territorial waters in accordance with international law.

The next day, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that London still does not recognize the secession of the Crimea from Ukraine, and in its view, the British warship was sailing in Ukrainian territorial waters.

According to the BBC report, the confidential documents found in Kent show that senior British ministry officials on Monday, two days before the incident, speculated on how Russia would react if the Defender passed near the Crimea.

According to the documents, the ministry also considered an alternative route for HMS Defender, which would have led her well outside the territorial waters of  disputed affiliation, in which case a confrontation could have been avoided.

However, ministry analysts said Russia could have interpreted this as the British were “scared and ran away”, and Moscow could have concluded that London accepted Russia’s claim to the territorial waters around Crimea. A spokesman for the UK Department of Defense only told the BBC on Sunday that an employee had reported the disappearance of certain confidential defense documents, but “it would not be appropriate” for the ministry to comment further on the matter.

Title image: In this Saturday, June 26, 2021 file photo, released by the Georgian Interior Ministry, British destroyer HMS Defender arrives at the port of Batumi, Georgia. Sensitive defense documents containing details about the British military have reportedly been found at a bus stop in England.  (Georgian Interior Ministry via AP, File)

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