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Russian warship, jet fire warning shots at British destroyer in Black Sea

A Russian warship and fighter jet fired "warning" shots at the British Royal Navy’s HMS Defender destroyer for encroaching on waters near Crimea in the Black Sea, Russia's defense ministry said Wednesday.

Why it matters: It's the first time since the Cold War that Russia has used live ammunition to deter a NATO vessel, according to AP.

  • Russia has frequently accused NATO of performing "destabilizing" operations in the Black Sea, despite the fact that NATO members Turkey, Greece and Bulgaria all have territorial claims to its waters.
  • Russia illegally annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, and has conducted extensive military exercises in the Black Sea that threaten to strangle Ukraine's economy by choking off shipping lanes.

The state of play: The British destroyer left the area after warning shots by a Russian warship and bombing along its path by an Su-24 attack aircraft, according to Russia's defense ministry.

  • Sergei Tsekov, a senator for the legislature of Crimea, called the British warship's movements "a flagrant violation of international norms and standards," warning that it could "provoke a serious conflict," according to state media.
  • The Russian defense ministry said it summoned the British embassy's military attache after the incident.

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

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