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Putin Talks Up Russia's Military Power After Allegedly Firing on British Warship

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Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview Wednesday the West could not win a war against Russia after an incident in the contested Crimean peninsula where a British destroyer received warning shots and dropped bombs.

Russia’s Defense Ministry announced it had fired a warning shot at a British warship and dropped bombs in its path on June 23.

The ministry said the ship sailed about two miles into Russian territorial waters.

“Even if we sank that ship, it wouldn’t put the world on the brink of World War III because those who do it know that they can’t emerge as winners in that war, and it’s very important,” Putin said, according to The Associated Press.

Putin said a U.S. reconnaissance aircraft worked with the British destroyer during the “provocation” incident, according to the AP. He said Moscow was aware of the U.S. intentions to look at Russia’s response to the British destroyer, and the Russians responded to avoid revealing sensitive data.

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“The destroyer had been warned that weapons would be used if it trespasses the border of the Russian Federation,” the Russian Defense Ministry said.

“It did not react to the warning.”

Putin also accused the Ukrainian leadership of being hostile toward Russia, but highlighted the two countries’ long relationship with each other, according to the AP.

Britain has said its ship was not fired on and that they were sailing near Ukraine, with which Russia currently has a hostile relationship.

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“We believe the Russians were undertaking a gunnery exercise in the Black Sea and provided the maritime community with prior-warning of their activity,” the U.K.’s Ministry of Defense said.

“No shots were directed at HMS Defender and we do not recognise the claim that bombs were dropped in her path.”

Russian previously stationed tens of thousands of troops in April near eastern Ukraine in the most prominent military buildup since Russia illegally annexed Crimea in 2014.

The Russian Navy’s only aircraft carrier was on fire in December 2019 while it was undergoing repair, according to The Drive.

Eight people were rescued from the upper deck of the ship that was on fire. Three were injured.

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The last time the U.S. and Russia engaged in combat was in February 2018, according to The New Yorker. U.S. drones, attack helicopters and fighter planes killed nearly a hundred Russian private military contractors at a Kurdish-held city in eastern Syria, according to the New Yorker.

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