UK News HMS Defender's route was bound to spark a response from Russia - but is it just a war of words?
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Britain will have known sailing a warship off the coast of Crimea - no matter how innocent or legal the passage - would provoke a response from Russia.
That Moscow was able to publish its version of what happened onfirst will annoy some within the British government.
But, unusually for a Whitehall department, the Ministry of Defence was relatively quick and coordinated at pushing back on the claims that a Russian vessel had fired a warning shot at HMS Defender and a Russian warplane dropped bombs in its path.
The MoD's Twitter account mobilised, declaring the Type 45 destroyer was "conducting innocent passage through Ukrainian territorial waters in accordance with international law".
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Another post alleged thehad been carrying out a pre-planned gunnery exercise and that "no shots were directed at HMS Defender".
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace also had something to say to try to defuse an incident that was making global headlines, playing down what he called normal maritime manoeuvring by the British and routine shadowing by Russians.
For Russia's foreign ministry, there was outrage that the UK had chosen to pass close to Crimea's coast.
"We treat it as blatant Britain's provocation that is contrary with international law and Russian legislation," a spokeswoman said, adding that the British ambassador had been summoned.
On the surface all of this is nothing but a war of words and posturing.
Russia leads one of its largest military exercises since the end of the USSR
© Alexander Semanchuk / Getty Images Russia has been conducting one of its largest military exercises since the end of the USSR while diplomatic relations Between Moscow and Washington are at the lowest, Russia has led a large military exercise in the Pacific Ocean.
But in a world where information is used as a weapon, this exchange between the UK and Russia matters.
So too do the physical actions of theand Russia's armed forces.
The UK has sought to demonstrate it does not recognise Russia's claim to the waters off Crimea.
Moscow for its part has sought to portray London as an aggressor that it was forced to chase away.
It is a sign of escalating tensions below the threshold of conflict between the West and the Kremlin.
It is also a sign of the kind of claim, denial and counter claim that we can expect to see more of as HMS Defender and a larger group of ships, including the Royal Navy's new aircraft carrier, make their way to Asia and into the South China Sea.
Lead 1-France and Germany propose an EU summit with Putin-Diplomats .
EU-Summit / Russia (Lead 1): Lead 1-France and Germany propose an EU summit with Putin-Diplomatics (updated All along with details, context) Brussels, 23 June (Reuters) - France and Germany proposed Wednesday that the European Union is organizing a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the hope of improving relations with Moscow, we learned from two diplomats, which paves the way for a possible first meeting of this level since 2014.