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Russia warns US, UK 'tempting fate' by sending warships to Black Sea

The British Royal Navy destroyer HMS Defender arrives in the Black Sea port of Batumi, Georgia, June 26, 2021. (Photo handout by British Embassy in Georgia via Reuters)

Russia has warned the United States and Britain are "tempting fate" by sending warships into the Black Sea amid the war with Ukraine.

"We call on the Pentagon and the British navy, which are sending their warships into the Black Sea, not to tempt fate in vain," Major General Igor Konashenkov, the Russian Defense Ministry's spokesperson said in a televised statement on Friday.

Russia will defend its borders using all possible means including military force, he warned, noting, British warships sailing off the Russian coast in Crimea are "not more than a target" for Russia's Black Sea fleet's defense forces.

HMS Defender, a British destroyer sailed through the Black Sea on Wednesday. Russia said its defense forces had fired warning shots and dropped bombs in the path of the British warship sailing through waters off the coast of Crimea, reportedly en route to Georgia. The UK said it had been informed beforehand of Russian military exercises.

In a separate announcement, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said the US and Britain were sowing strife by sailing warships through Black Sea waters, reiterating that Russia was ready to defend its borders using all means.

Russia also warned on Thursday that it would target any British warships in the Black Sea if the UK's provocative actions off the Crimean coast continued.

It also warned in a separate announcement by the Defense Ministry that the Russian forces had launched a joint naval and aerial military exercise in the eastern Mediterranean.

Since Russia launched its special military operation in Ukraine in February 2022, the US and most European Union member countries have supplied Ukraine with tens of billions of dollars worth of weapons, including rocket systems, drones, tanks and armored vehicles, communication systems, and so on.

The United States is the biggest supplier of weaponry to the Kiev forces, so far alone sending some $48 billion worth of military aid and other assistance to Ukraine since the beginning of the war.

Russia has repeatedly warned that flooding Kiev with weapons and munitions will only prolong the war and that the West is engaged in a proxy war with Russia over Ukraine that could escalate into a much bigger conflict. The Kremlin also insists that it does not want to trigger a direct military confrontation between the US-backed NATO and Russia.

In the meantime, former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev said the war in Ukraine could last for a very long time with periods of fighting followed by numerous ceasefires.

"This conflict will last a very long time, most likely decades," said on Thursday during a visit to Vietnam.

"As long as there is such a power in place, there will be, say, three years of truce, two years of conflict, and everything will be repeated," he said, reiterating Moscow's claim that Ukraine is a Nazi state.

He warned that supplying more destructive and advanced weapons by the US and its allies to Ukraine increases the probability of a "nuclear apocalypse.”

Russia’s former president said on Tuesday, “The more weapons are supplied, the more dangerous the world will be."

"And the more destructive these weapons are, the more likely the scenario becomes of what is commonly called a nuclear apocalypse," he warned during a trip to Vietnam.

Medvedev, who is currently serving as deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council and is seen as a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, had warned earlier that if Russia loses the conflict in Ukraine, a nuclear war could break out.

"The defeat of a nuclear power in a conventional war may trigger a nuclear war," Medvedev warned in a Telegram post, adding that "nuclear powers have never lost major conflicts on which their fate depends."

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