A top Russian diplomat has warned that any provocative action near Russia's territorial waters in the strategic Black Sea would be testing the country’s red-lines and a "risky experiment" aimed at making the regional atmosphere more tense.
Mikhail Ulyanov, Russia's permanent representative to international organizations in Vienna, made the comment in confirmation of a tweet by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace that said a recent encounter between the British and Russian militaries off Crimea "was a test of the Kremlin's red lines."
That was an allusion to an incident on Wednesday in which Russia's Black Sea Fleet and the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) stopped a violation of the state border by the British destroyer HMS Defender off the coast of the Crimean Peninsula.
The British military vessel ventured three kilometers into Russian territorial waters, prompting a Russian border guard patrol ship to fire warning shots and a Sukhoi-24M bomber to drop bombs in front of the destroyer. The HMS Defender left the waters following the warning maneuvers.
"Testing Russia's red lines is a risky and irresponsible experiment aimed at making the atmosphere in the Euro-Atlantic area even more tense and turbulent if not something worse," Ulyanov said in a post on his Twitter account on Tuesday.
Testing Russia’a red lines is a risky and irresponsible experiment aimed at making the atmosphere in the Euro-Atlantic area even more tense and turbulent if not something worse. https://t.co/sQsgYp6q2R— Mikhail Ulyanov (@Amb_Ulyanov) June 29, 2021
Russia slammed the trespassing by the British destroyer HMS Defender as a crude violation of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and called on London to investigate the actions of the destroyer's crew members.
Russia on Friday warned the UK and the US against sending warships near the country's territorial waters off the Crimean coast, saying Moscow would defend its borders by all possible means, including military force.
Crimea declared independence from Ukraine on March 17, 2014, and formally applied to become part of Russia following a referendum, in which 96.8 percent of participants voted in favor of the move, which plunged relations between Moscow and the West into a free fall.