US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin meet at the US-Russia summit at Villa La Grange in Geneva, Switzerland. on June 16 (Photo: REUTERS / Kevin Lamarque)

The Russian President, Vladimir Putin, stated on Wednesday that the incident involving a British destroyer in the Black Sea it could not have triggered a world conflict even if Russia had sunk the warship, because the West knows that it cannot win such a war. The harsh statement seemed to indicate his decision to raise the stakes in case a similar incident occurs again.

On a marathon calling show Putin also revealed that he had received the domestically produced Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine., and urged Russians to get vaccinated at a time when the country is battling a devastating surge in cases and deaths amid widespread hesitancy to get vaccinated.

Putin was asked about the June 23 incident in the Black Sea, in which Russia said that one of its warships fired warning shots and a warplane dropped bombs in the path of Britain’s HMS Defender to force him out of an area near Crimea that Moscow claims as its territorial waters. Said an American reconnaissance plane had joined what he described as a “provocation”To test Russia’s response.

Great Britain, which like most other nations did not recognize Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, he insisted that the Defender was not fired and said it was sailing in Ukrainian waters. “HMS Defender was conducting a innocent step through Ukrainian territorial waters in accordance with international law, ”the British Defense Ministry said on Wednesday.

Asked if the facts They could have started a world war Putin responded that the West would not risk a full-scale conflict. “Even if we had sunk that ship, it would be difficult to imagine that that would put the world on the brink of World War III, because those who imagine it know that they cannot be victorious in that war, and that is very important.Putin said. The statement followed the warning by Russian officials that if a western warship re-enters the waters, the army could fire on it.

Putin denounced that the American reconnaissance plane that took off from the Greek island of Crete operated in concert with the british ship in an apparent surveillance mission of the Russian military response to the British destroyer.

It was clearly a provocation, a complex provocation involving not only the British but also the Americans.”He said, adding that Moscow was aware of the US intentions and responded accordingly to avoid revealing sensitive data.

Asked about the statement of Putin, the captain of the Navy Wendy Snyder, head of public affairs for the United States’ European Command, said that “Yes, we had planes in operation,” but he reaffirmed the Pentagon’s earlier rejection of the Russian description of the incident as false. “We are operating and monitoring everything in the Black Sea region, as we always doSnyder said.

The Russian leader specifically regretted that the incident occurred shortly after his summit with the president of the United States, Joe Biden, held this month in Geneva.

“The world is undergoing a sea change,” he said. “Our American partners realize this, and that is why the Geneva meeting took place. But, on the other hand, they try to ensure their monopoly position, which translates into threats and destructive actions such as drills, provocations and sanctions.”.

Although the West does not recognize Crimea as part of Russia, Putin said the naval incident took the controversy to a new level. “If they don’t acknowledge something, okay, they can still refuse to acknowledge it,” he said. “But why carry out such provocations?”

Putin insisted that Russia will firmly defend its interests. “We are fighting for ourselves and for our future in our own territory“, He said. “Nor are we the ones who have traveled thousands of kilometers (miles) to reach them; it is they who have reached our borders and violated our territorial waters “.

(With AP information)

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