HMS Defender ignored Russian warnings while the warship was sailing near Crimea, so Russia hit back with information warfare trying to paint a story of aggression.

Russian efforts to confuse the situation caught many out, including us.

The video above conmtains the following exchange:

“Coast guard vessel, this is British warship Delta Three-Six, we are conducting innocent passage, we have the right to do so in accordance with international law and United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea. Your actions are unsafe, unprofessional and endanger both of our vessels. Are you threatening me, over.”

The Russian ship responded with what appeared to be a threat before repeating demands for Defender to change course:

“Change your course to starboard or I’ll be fire” then saying “keep away from border line” and repeatening demands to change course.

HMS Defender did not change her course, as seen below.

In response argues Molly McKew here, Russia made noise. As HMS Defender sailed around Crimea, Russia went on information offense.

“It had been decided that HMS Defender, now sailing on its own, would pass within the boundary Russia views as its territorial waters around Crimea. No one else recognizes these as Russian waters, since the annexation of Crimea is not officially recognized by almost anyone. So it seems like the UK, coordinating with its American and NATO partners, decided to make a statement to this effect — that the annexation of Crimea is not something that is de facto recognized without challenge or protest.

In reality, a NATO ally did something very bold today — and Russia couldn’t stop it. NATO (or at least, the UK) stood up for Ukraine, and it stood up to Russia. It did it without firing shots. The significance of this is important.”

McKew also sums it up perfectly, saying that the Kremlin knew the goal of this was the political statement the UK intended to make:

“Crimea isn’t Russia, and we’re going to sail on by, wave the flag, and give a little toot-toot of the horn on the way — and Russia won’t stop us.”

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Ian M.
Ian M.
11 days ago

A cool, calm and collected Watch Officer on Defender.

Nic
Nic
11 days ago

I wonder what the true account of this incident is , because everyone is reporting it different .

Watcherzero
Watcherzero
11 days ago
Reply to  Nic

The BBC reporter on board said the Russians did come close and did make threats over the radio but never fired any warning shots.

Lusty
Lusty
10 days ago
Reply to  Watcherzero

There’s a video circulating of a Russian vessel firing shots into the air/ However, the vessel was some distance away from Defender. It would corroborate what the BBC reporter said when he talked about the sound of ‘distant gunfire’.

Barry Larking
Barry Larking
11 days ago

It is essential that Russia’s seizure in Ukraine doesn’t become normalised in a world significant region. It may be objected that ‘others have got away with the same’. We cannot hope to right everything, but that isn’t the same as arguing no one should be doing nothing. Russia might easily have negotiated some deal that preserves its facilities in Ukraine on the Black Sea. It chose otherwise just as it chooses to ignore international law elsewhere. This is troubling that, despite its recent behaviour, is an historically important country and erstwhile frontline member of the international community.

Last edited 11 days ago by Barry Larking
David Steeper
David Steeper
10 days ago
Reply to  Barry Larking

Agree with every word.

Meirion X
Meirion X
10 days ago
Reply to  Barry Larking

The Ukrainian’s did extend the lease on the Crimea naval base as recently as 2010 for the Russian navy to continue use of it.

dan
dan
8 days ago
Reply to  Barry Larking

Is too bad the West stood by and did NOTHING when Russia invading Ukraine. Too late to do anything now.

James
James
10 days ago

Both sides unfortunately lied! Jets bombed not HMS Defender path that was a blatant lie! However warning shots after Defender left were fired clearly and I saw the video of that on Russian media. Denying something was fired made Britain look foolish and the Russians won the information war if you look at English language press and foreign languages press. The MOD should have released videos of HMS Defender crew video and share it with the press to prove otherwise like the video of HMS Duncan In 2018. In high stakes encounter like this you can’t afford to lose the… Read more »

Last edited 10 days ago by James
Pete
Pete
10 days ago
Reply to  James

If your the crew on Defender those shots were so far behind you it’s not unreasonable to question extent to which they were warning shots or part of previously announced training exercises.

Probably fair to say both sides were playing the publicity game.

I thought the last line from Defender was brilliant..and was really surprised it was left in the Russian media release….words to effect of …..were in an internationally recognised shipping lane and were going to carry on !

James
James
9 days ago
Reply to  Pete

I don’t buy the idea the shots were not a threat ! I have seen a clear video they have fired at the direction of Defender maybe not reach but the idea they would warn them and fire at their direction is disturbing. The Russian commander spoke in English. Defender did speed through the area also it appears . But they kept calm and confident.

Pete
Pete
9 days ago
Reply to  James

I’m not saying they weren’t a threat. I’m suggesting I could understand, given all the previous dialogue about training going on, that they could not be taken as a threat what wasn’t stated on the Radio (rather than intercom to Russian crew) to Defender was ‘ I am now going to fire warning shots’.

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
8 days ago
Reply to  James

The Russians did inform the RN a live fire gunnery exercise was taking place. Which probably explains the distant gun fire, and Defenders lack of alarm at it.

Steve Ash
Steve Ash
10 days ago
Reply to  James

How can you fire warning shots at someone who has left the scene and is not a threat, had those shots landed and caused injury or death, that would have been an act of war, Its up there with shooting a soldier in the back because hes running away ,,

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
10 days ago
Reply to  James

James,
The gunfire sounds that I heard on the BBC clip were clearly a great distance away from the T45. Russians said they fired warning shots, others said Russians were doing gunnery practice at distance – I believe the latter. Russian lie.
I saw Sukhoi 24s buzz the T45 but no shots shown of bombs being dropped. Russian lie.

James
James
9 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

I watched the Russian video of them warning Defender , the MOD lied about this been a training exercise! They should have admitted for what it is and respond to it ! Clearly The Russians warned Defender and threatened to fire. They did fire eventually but ordered Not to hit Defender and did it from a safe distance. The BBC reports where one can hear the noise just proves the Russian narrative . In fact we heard what Defender said on radio from the Russians while the MOD kept us in the dark otherwise they would have been more than… Read more »

David S
David S
7 days ago
Reply to  James

Seems like your spouting RT version of events. It seems obvious that no warning shots were fired in the proximity of HMS Defender. If there were any we would have seen footage of it from the BBC and most certainly the Russians. The Russians are experts at twisting the truth to suit their home audience. Thankfully most of the world will see it for what it is. The track of Defender is freely available online clearly showing that it did not change course, no footage of any warning shots and the audio exchange was given by both sides. You say… Read more »

Airborne
Airborne
10 days ago
Reply to  James

So called warning shots were so far away they were a complete reactive bull**** story from the Russians. Not sure if you have ever seen or heard gunfire at various distances James, but if you perceive that slight echo of a distance rattle of gunfire as a warning shot then get on YouTube and see if you can research the issue! Total Russian chuff, now looking silly. And as for that ancient piece of crap SU 24 “buzzing” Defender, well if the RN wanted they could have turned that Cold War flying shed into a pile of russkie rivets the… Read more »

James
James
9 days ago
Reply to  Airborne

The Royal Navy should release footage and radio communication and not hide in the bushes because Britain is being humiliated Internationally by this incident. So far the Russians have released credible evidence of communication radio warning and footage the Royal Navy released zero ! In 2018 when HMS Duncan was buzzed a video was released that was handled very well compared to this incident. The Mod understands very well information war importance

Airborne
Airborne
9 days ago
Reply to  James

I think your perception of events is skewed massively. The only people looking a little silly, and indeed humiliated is Russia. Credible evidence of radio comms? Oh my, how hard is it to knock up some spoof chuff comms recoding. Crap I could do that on my phone right now! No matter your narrative, the RN comes out of this looking cool, calm and collected. No matter what you watch on RT!

James
James
9 days ago
Reply to  Airborne

The MOD never denied the communication audio released by the Russians. In fact what the Russians released makes HMS Defender look good compared what the MOD was spewing out! That’s why I think Defender crew are very unhappy to how the good work they did is being handled by the MOD literally humiliating the Royal Navy. That’s the problem you get when you have incompetent people leading the MOD. Not going standby and praise a poor job done by the government. Look at how HMS Duncan was handled by the Royal Navy when they engaged the Russians in 2018. They… Read more »

Last edited 9 days ago by James
Airborne
Airborne
9 days ago
Reply to  James

Well we may have to disagree on this one! But for the record the Russians blinked first and decided to try to make the best of it for their domestic audience. I agree that let the uniforms decide on tactics but unfortunately politicians like to think they know about strategy. Thus it has always been and unlikely to change.

James
James
8 days ago
Reply to  Airborne

Many were attacking me yesterday for calling the MOD incompetent and now we find files relating to HMS Defender mission were left at a bus stop, it just gets not more classic British government than that! Waving flag bandwagon without competent people makes us not more secure unfortunately!

Airborne
Airborne
8 days ago
Reply to  James

Read my reply to your post on that thread mate, total chuff, stitch up, far to much of a coincidence.

Tim
Tim
5 days ago
Reply to  James

It seems to me you watched the heavily edited r.t video where they fire there close in support weapon at max elevation off to the left while defender was about 5 miles away on the horizon the range of that weapon is only about 2000 metres it was all show for Russia’s domestic market

David Barry
David Barry
8 days ago
Reply to  Airborne

I like you… flying rivets… perhaps s all, man made reef with pieces 2, edible sea food would be insensitive…

Dave12
Dave12
9 days ago
Reply to  James

Going by your previous posts jamski you wouldn’t no what the truth is.

James
James
9 days ago
Reply to  Dave12

Previous post? Are trying to say I’m from the Kremlin? 😃 I think your comment speaks for itself! I never back everything going wrong at all cost ! That’s called being responsible! This incident how it was handled in contrast to HMS Duncan in 2018 by the MOD when it was buzzed by 17 Russian jets is very poor ! I think the crew behaved responsibly and this incident needs an investigation . It has been politicised way too much by the MOD and government spinning it making the Royal Navy look bad Internationally. The Russians in some ways put… Read more »

Nathan
Nathan
10 days ago

The annexation of Crimea isn’t right. And, the people of Crimea, it seems, wanted to be Russian. The world needs a recognised means of permitting dissident regions of ceding and joining other political bodies otherwise there will always be the threat of war and distant capitals can choose to ignore marginalised peoples and groups because it suits them. China etc. might not like it, but one group of people in a distant city, often of different cultural, ethnic and political senses cannot get to decide who they speak for and who they don’t. Any nation must be a coalition of… Read more »

Tim
Tim
5 days ago
Reply to  Nathan

So you would be ok if London decided it wanted to leave the uk then ?

Ron Stateside
Ron Stateside
10 days ago

I, for one, think it was fantastic. The Russians are essentially gaslighting everyone by saying Crimea and Eastern Ukraine are Russian Territory. CSG and HMS Defender basically just said, “No they’re not your territory, and if you really believe that it is, go ahead and defend it.” The Russians did not, and if they did, it would’ve been them in violation of International Law. Absolutely brilliant.

It’s also somewhat surprising to see so many defend Russia here – on a UK armed forced oriented website – or say don’t poke the bear! Good to know who they are.

David Saunders
David Saunders
10 days ago
Reply to  Ron Stateside

Well said Ron. Turncoats a plenty, it would seem.

fearlesstunafish
fearlesstunafish
10 days ago
Reply to  Ron Stateside

i’ve been wondering for a while why the western media seems to give so much trust to russian reports while disbelieving our own…..this is a country actively involved in disinformation and information control….

Last edited 10 days ago by fearlesstunafish
dan
dan
10 days ago
Reply to  Ron Stateside

The defenders are just scared of standing up to bullies like Putin.

Frank62
Frank62
6 days ago
Reply to  dan

It is scary standing up to Russia/China etc, even the Saudis, but it has to be done. Nobody is above the law. Wise heads need to prevail, especially in todays misinformation age. Freedom & democracy are under attack from dictators.

Last edited 6 days ago by Frank62
ChariotRider
ChariotRider
5 days ago
Reply to  Frank62

And sadly from within. The US is in a weakened political state at the moment because her politicians cannot agree on anything. For democracy to survive there needs to be agreement on some fundemental ideas or principles that bind and unite. The kind of discord we sadly see in the US at the moment is a happy hunting ground to Russia and China.

Hopefuly Americans will find a way forward together, but it is a warning to all democracies of the dangers in the modern connected information and misinformation age.

Cheers CR

Frank62
Frank62
5 days ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Agreed CR..

dan
dan
10 days ago

Sleepy Joe slept through the entire incident. lol

Steve R
Steve R
10 days ago
Reply to  dan

Yawn.

You don’t like Biden. We get it. Change the record.

Meirion X
Meirion X
10 days ago
Reply to  dan

Treacherous Don would of said ‘The Russians have done No wrong’!

Last edited 10 days ago by Meirion X
Tim
Tim
5 days ago
Reply to  Meirion X

Interesting because it was don that backed us when the Russians poisoned skripal in the uk

Rick O'Shea
Rick O'Shea
10 days ago

Magnificent day for the Royal Navy!

Jamie
Jamie
10 days ago

It’s going to be an interesting week ahead with the Russians exercising in the Mediterranean Sea which includes the Black Sea Fleet and bombers recently flown into Latakia, Syria. UK CSG is also just south of Cyprus so I wouldn’t be surprised if the Russians practice mock attacks and they get greeted by the F-35 and Typhoons at Akrotiri.

Chris
Chris
10 days ago
Reply to  Jamie

Indeed.

I see this as a clear signal from Whitehall that the UK and Royal Navy have firmly re-entered the global “big navy” geopolitical chat.

Welcome back

David Steeper
David Steeper
10 days ago
Reply to  Chris

We’ve got them worried which is good to know.

JohnH
JohnH
10 days ago

Gosh, that’s clever. Sneaky sneaky Russians. You can imagine if this incident had been the other way round what the UK headlines would be ‘uk only has coast guard vessel available to defend coastline, not enough ships… etc’ I did think it odd that they only had a coastguard vessel available, but they have succeeded with their narrative that they chased the UK away from their coast. It’s the UK presses own fault really, the amount of lies they have told for years about so many subjects doesn’t really highlight them as the bastion of truth to anyone, it’s at… Read more »

Meirion X
Meirion X
10 days ago
Reply to  JohnH

Ha, ha! The same poster using multiple accounts!

You are exposed!

JohnG
JohnG
9 days ago
Reply to  Meirion X

Sigh, it was a typo when signing my name, normally a new name needs authorisation, which I presumed johnh wouldn’t get so reposted with the correct name, nothing untoward going on.

JohnG
JohnG
10 days ago

Gosh, that’s clever. Sneaky sneaky Russians. You can imagine if this incident had been the other way round what the UK headlines would be ‘uk only has coast guard vessel available to defend coastline, not enough ships… etc’ I did think it odd that they only had a coastguard vessel available, but they have succeeded with their narrative that they chased the UK away from their coast. It’s the UK presses own fault really, the amount of lies they have told for years about so many subjects doesn’t really highlight them as the bastion of truth to anyone, it’s at… Read more »

Meirion X
Meirion X
10 days ago
Reply to  JohnG

Ha, ha! Same poster using multiple accounts!

You exposed!

Springer
Springer
10 days ago

Looking purposeful there giving it “the beans”, just looking at the flag hoist, trying to figure out what it says, I’m assuming it must be from the international code of signals, looks like Romeo Tango 2 but there could be others behind out of view. RT2 seems to be “I intend to pass you on your port side” (although she seems to be on the starboard side of the Russian vessel so not sure that’s right).

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
10 days ago

Considering the “flyby” the RAF arranged for a Kirov that passed by the UK in the 1990s a single Fencer turning up is small fry.

Richard B
Richard B
9 days ago

This video of the confrontation from a Russian Coastguard vessel is essential watching if you haven’t viewed it already:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zpi6PG-qdHg
The Channel 16 VHF interchanges with “British Warship Delta Three Six” are clearly heard. Towards the end of the video the Russian ship fires her main gun several times in the general direction of Defender, albeit offset to her port beam. That is not a routine naval exercise!
Note that some computer/radar screens shown in the video have been set to English language rather then Russian, indicating that the filming was pre-planned.

Last edited 9 days ago by Richard B
Pete
Pete
9 days ago
Reply to  Richard B

Not routine …but..given the distances involved and the prior warnings if there being ongoing training exercises then very easy to interpret the intent differently. Warning shots when the coastguard vessel was a couple of hundred meters away would have been a different message…..to be ignored!

Andy reeves
Andy reeves
8 days ago

return the gesture next time any russian enters u.k air or sea areas

dan
dan
8 days ago

It seems that a lot of Russian and Chinese military personnel have no idea what military professionalism means. Guess they don’t teach that course in those countries.

Last edited 8 days ago by dan
Gunbuster
Gunbuster
7 days ago

The use of warning shots in the RN is a planned and detailed drill. It is used to demonstrate to the target vessel (Usually Civilian) you are in proximity with that you mean business and it is part of a step by step escalation in the use of force that can, if taken to the conclusion , end up with rounds being fired to disable the vessel. Obviously the Russian forces have a different take on it because it means absolutely squat unless you can physically see the escalation which is nigh impossible when its several Km behind you! Although… Read more »

PeterDK
PeterDK
6 days ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Interesting, thanks. And by contrast, the Russian “warning shots” seem equivalent to shaking your fist at the TV, or shouting insults to someone who can’t hear you.

Tim
Tim
5 days ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Very interesting thanks some on here seem to think defender should release radio traffic etc i didn’t think it would be that simple

Leonidas
Leonidas
4 days ago

“Bring us alongside at pistol-shot.”