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Russia, U.K. spar over Black Sea incident


Russia accused Britain of spreading lies over a warship confrontation in the Black Sea and warned Britain that it would respond resolutely to any further provocative actions by the British Navy off the coast of Russia-annexed Crimea.


Prelims, GS-II: International Relations, GS-I: Geography (Maps)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About the current issue between Russia and U.K.
  2. Annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation
  3. About the Black Sea

About the current issue between Russia and U.K.

  • Russia said that 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.
  • However, Britain confirmed that its destroyer, HMS Defender, had sailed through what it described as waters belonging to Ukraine.
  • According to Britain, the ship was “conducting an innocent passage through Ukrainian territorial waters in accordance with international law”.
  • 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 seized and annexed the Crimea peninsula from Ukraine in 2014 and considers areas around the peninsula’s coast to be Russian waters. Western countries deem the Crimea part of Ukraine and reject Russia’s claim to the seas around it.

Annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation

  • The Crimean Peninsula, north of the Black Sea in Eastern Europe, was annexed by the Russian Federation in 2014 and since then has been administered as two Russian federal subjects—the Republic of Crimea and the federal city of Sevastopol.
  • The annexation from Ukraine followed a Russian military intervention in Crimea that took place in the aftermath of the 2014 Ukrainian revolution and was part of wider 2014 pro-Russian unrest in Ukraine.
  • Ukraine and many other countries condemned the annexation and consider it to be a violation of international law and Russian-signed agreements safeguarding the territorial integrity of Ukraine, including the 1991 Belavezha Accords, the 1975 Helsinki Accords, the 1994 Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances and the 1997 Treaty.
  • In 2016, the UN General Assembly reaffirmed non-recognition of the annexation and condemned “the temporary occupation of part of the territory of Ukraine—the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol”.
  • The Russian government opposes the “annexation” label, with Putin defending the referendum as complying with the principle of self-determination of peoples.

About the Black Sea

  • The Black Sea is a marginal sea of the Atlantic Ocean lying between Europe and Asia; east of the Balkans (Southeast Europe), south of the East European Plain in Eastern Europe, west of the Caucasus, and north of Anatolia in Western Asia.
  • The Black Sea is bordered by Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Russia, Turkey, and Ukraine.
  • The Black Sea ultimately drains into the Mediterranean Sea, via the Turkish Straits and the Aegean Sea.
  • The Bosporus Strait connects it to the small Sea of Marmara which in turn is connected to the Aegean Sea via the Strait of the Dardanelles. To the north, the Black Sea is connected to the Sea of Azov by the Kerch Strait.

-Source: The Hindu

January 2023