Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday accused the United States of being involved in the incident that occurred last week between the British destroyer “HMS Defender” and Russian naval forces in waters near the annexed Crimean peninsula, in the Black Sea.
“It’s a provocation. That is evident (…) It was something common and it was carried out not only by the British, but also by the Americans, “said the Russian leader during his traditional Direct Line with citizens, broadcast on television.
Putin claimed that a US spy plane with the serial number 63/9792 was implicated in the incident.
Image of the British destroyer HMS Defender that was involved in an incident with Russian forces in the Black Sea. Photo: AP
He maintained that on the morning of the 23rd, at 07:30 local time, from one of the NATO air bases in Greece, in Crete, a US strategic reconnaissance aircraft, something of what the president was informed.
“We saw it and we observed it well,” Putin said, adding that the British destroyer approached Crimea for “military purposes”, and that the spy plane’s objective was watch the performance of the Russian armed forces before his “provocation”.
Last week the Russian Coast Guard carried out warning shots at the British destroyer “Defender” when it entered Russian territorial waters near Crimea on June 23, after which Moscow summoned the military attaché and the British ambassador.
The Kremlin was quick to call the incident “deliberate and provoked” and warned London of further provocations.
Thus, the spokesman for the Russian Presidency, Dmitri Peskov, pointed out that in case the “unacceptable provocations” by London continue and “go very far”, no “option” can be ruled out regarding Russia’s right to defend its state border.
Meanwhile, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Riabkov stressed that Russia “appeals to common sense” in cases like the one that occurred with the British ship, but if that doesn’t help, it can “shoot.”
The Russian diplomat insisted that the territorial integrity of Russia is inviolable and the country will defend its borders by all possible methods, “diplomatic, political, or, if necessary, also military.”
Putin denied during the Hotline that the world was on the brink of a new world war for the incident with the British destroyer.
“Of course it is not. Because even if we did sink the ship, it is difficult to imagine that the world would be on the brink of World War III, because those who do, know that they would not be victorious from that war,” he snapped.
Fighting the coronavirus
The Russian president spent most of the marathon of calls talking about internal affairs.
He expressed his hope that the country can avoid a quarantine amid a wave of new infections. Putin argued that decisions by local authorities in various regions, which have made vaccination mandatory for some workers, should help contain the new wave of infections and avoid lockdown.
The “actions of our colleagues in certain regions are aimed at avoiding the need for a shutdown, when entire companies close and people are left without their jobs, without their salaries,” Putin said.
He also revealed that chose Sputnik V for his vaccination, the coronavirus vaccine developed by Russia and which was the first in the world to be licensed for use. Putin was vaccinated for the first time against the coronavirus at the end of March, away from the public scene, and had been silent about which vaccine, of the three developed in the country, he chose at that time.
The Russian president said that he did not consult his doctors about it, but rather looked at the choices made by his acquaintances, and opted for Sputnik V, since offered the best protection against the virus. He added that at first he did not name the vaccine he took so as not to offer an advantage to its manufacturer.
Source: EFE and AP