Still No Footage of Russia Dropping “Warning Bombs” in the Path of British Destroyer. Not Looking Good for Russia
Maybe the response would have been harsher if Moscow was told the Brits didn't bring their vaccine QR codes with them
Earlier this year Russia announced it was closing off parts of the Black Sea to foreign warships from April 24 to October 24.
The ministry said the restrictions would apply to an area along the Crimean coastline between Sevastopol and Gurzuf, an area near the Kerch Peninsula, and a small area near the western tip of Crimea, according to Russian news agency RIA.
Since the closed-off areas all fall within its territorial waters anyway (that is the territorial waters of Crimea), foreign warships have no business there anyway.
But in view of the 2018 Ukrainian provocation where Poroshenko ahead of an election ordered the Ukrainian Navy to break through the Kerch Strait (without contacting the Russians), and constant NATO rhetoric of the wrong kind, the Russians thought they would make an extra special point to emphasize these waters truly were off-limits.
The British apparently took a look at the Russian no-go zone and scoffed. They would sail into it just because Russia had said they could not. The MoD was explicit this was an intentional, pre-planned “freedom of navigation operation,” and not the case of a ship getting its position wrong by a few kilometers.
Besides the HMS Defender departed Odessa with a tabloid journalist for the Daily Mail, a BBC defense correspondent and multiple camera crews. Clearly even the media had been told in advance it would be worthwhile for them to tag along.
But let’s not give London too much credit. The power that is really behind this stunt is the US. Since 2019 the US has been trying to convince one of its vassals to breach Russia’s territorial waters (apparently it looks better if it’s not the US directly). But where Germany had been wise enough to decline, the idiotic Johnson government agreed to take up this errand for the Empire.
Unlike the Ukrainians who in 2018 tried to smash right through the Kerch Strait* the HMS Defender only cut a small shortcut across an edge of Russian territorial waters. Even as it entered it was already on course to exit and violated the border only by a shy 2 nautical miles.
The Russians have shared a lot of details about their response and a lot of footage. They claim a patrol boat of the Border Guards caught up with the British destroyer and was able to fire warning shots, after which Su-24 strike aircraft dropped four 250 kg (OFAB-250) bombs in the path of the Royal Navy vessel.
Problem is — despite the abundance of aerial footage from the Russian side — there is no footage of the bombing. Why would you film and release aerial footage but cut out the most important part?
Look, I get it. Sometimes you don’t catch up with a border-violating ship in time. Maybe by the time the Su-24s were airborne the HMS Defender was already out of Russia’s waters, and it looks daft to drop bombs ahead of a ship in international waters. Or maybe it was a decision not to allow themselves to be provoked (and to perhaps answer at a different time and place, on their own terms and in a planned manner). There is no shame in either, but why say you dropped bombs if you didn’t do it?
It’s not a good look for Russia and it’s irritating when Moscow is less truthful than London.
Meanwhile, as the Brits violate the border, the Moscow government continues its crackdown against the unvaccinated and pushes COVID fascism with the full support of the Kremlin.
If only a fragment of this heavy-handedness against Muscovites had been applied at the foreign military provocateurs instead…
Instead of that the Kremlin is making a big deal out of having summoned the British defense attache and ambassador in Moscow and speaking how “next time” they may even drop bombs on the violating ship itself.
Maybe if the Royal Navy breaks one of the COVID protocols, but not otherwise.
*Russia does no bar Ukraine from traversing the Kerch Strait, even with warships, but it does insist the Ukrainians announce themselves and hire a pilot to lead them through the strait same as commercial and Russian ships.