Russia says it chases British destroyer out of Crimea waters with warning shots, bombs
Maria KiselyovaAndrew Macaskill
Russia says British warship entered its waters near Crimea
UK says vessel was in Ukrainian territorial waters
Denies Russia fired warning shots at its warship
Moscow to summon UK envoy over 'blatant provocation'
Western countries conducting naval execises in Black Sea
MOSCOW, June 23 (Reuters) - Russia said on Wednesday it had fired warning shots and dropped bombs in the path of a British warship to chase it out of waters Moscow claims in the Black Sea off the coast of the Crimea peninsula.
Britain rejected Russia's account of the incident, saying it believed any shots fired were a pre-announced Russian "gunnery exercise", and that no bombs had been dropped. But it confirmed that its destroyer, HMS Defender, had sailed through what it described as waters belonging to Ukraine.
The ship was "conducting an innocent passage through Ukrainian territorial waters in accordance with international law", Britain's Ministry of Defence said in a statement.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson's spokesman said: "It's incorrect to say either that it was fired upon or that the ship was in Russian waters."
Military experts said that whether or not the details of the Russian or British accounts were accurate, the incident appeared to represent an escalation in confrontation between the West and Russia over disputed sea lanes.
Russia's foreign ministry called the passage of the British warship through the area an act of "blatant provocation" and said it would summon the British ambassador over the incident.