There has been a confrontation between the British destroyer HMS Defender and Russian forces in the Black Sea. According to the Russians, they fired warning shots and a Sukhoi Su-24 aircraft dropped four l8v3 bombs nearby. The British claim that the Russians had told them that they would be conducting live firing exercises in the Black Sea and that Defender was three miles from the firing and bombing,
Defender was heading from Odessa in southern Ukraine to Georgia by what the UK considers to be an international transit route. Russia regards it as being part of its territorial waters since its annexation of Crimea in 2014, which many countries, including the members of the EU and NATO consider to be illegal.
Joanathan Beale, a BBC correspodent, was on board Defender. He says that two Russian coastguard ships came within 100 yards of Defender and that she detected over 20 Russian military aircraft. He heard firing but thought that it was three miles away. According to The Times, the coastguard ships are operated by the FSB, Russia’s domestic intelligence service.
Defender had been detached from the HMS Queen Elizabeth carrier strike group, which is currently in the Mediterranean on her way to the Indian Ocean and then theSouth China Sea. She was accompanied by the Dutch frigate HNLMS Evertsen and the guided missile destroyer USS Laboon for part of her freedom of navigation operation in the Black Sea but was on her own when the Russians intervened. The Economist says that there was an American intelligence gathering aircraft above Defender during the confrontation,
In another Western attempt to assert the right to freedom of the seas the guided missile destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur this week sailed through the Taiwan Straits, claimed by China.
BBC News – Russian jets and ships target British warship
Russian and British forces square off in the Black Sea from The Economist
You won’t stop our ships, defiant Britain tells Putin | The Times