A British warship has been embroiled in a dramatic flare-up with Russian forces in the Black Sea this afternoon – but the details of what really went on remain murky. 

According to Moscow’s defence ministry, a Russian military ship fired warning shots at the Royal Navy’s HMS Defender at 12.06 and a jet dropped bombs in its path at 12.19, after it refused to listen to radio warnings and entered Russian territorial waters near Crimea. 

But the British Ministry of Defence has flatly denied these claims. It issued a swift response, saying no shots or bombs were directed at the British ship. According to the MoD, Russia was undertaking a pre-arranged gunnery exercise in the Black Sea, and the defender was conducting an “innocent passage through Ukrainian territorial waters” en route from Odessa to Georgia.