The loss and subsequent discovery at a bus stop, of all places, of documents with plans for the passage of the British Navy’s Defender destroyer through Russian waters in the Black Sea is a mistake made by a “specific person.”
This was stated during the hearings in the British Parliament by the Deputy Minister of Defense of the United Kingdom Jeremy Queen.
“It looks like it was a mistake. I don’t want to talk about something until the results of the investigation, but it seems that this is a mistake of an individual person,” the official said.
According to him, the employee who lost his documents later admitted it.
At the same time, Quinn pointed out that some of the papers were classified as “secret”, and they were intended only for employees of the secret service.
“I am very sorry that such an incident took place, its investigation will be carried out in the most thorough manner,” the deputy minister assured.
Earlier, the BBC released a dossier found at a bus stop in Kent. It discussed the possible reaction of Moscow to the passage of a British Navy ship in Russia’s territorial waters.
According to the allegedly classified information, London was expecting a sharp response from the Russian military to the violation of state borders.
At the same time, the destroyer also had an alternative route of movement.
However, in this case, Moscow could decide that the British military was “scared”, according to the BBC.
On June 23rd, the Russian Defense Ministry announced that the British destroyer Defender crossed the Russian border near Cape Fiolent (Crimea).
The Russian border ship, after repeated warnings, fired warning shots, and the Su-24M fired “warning bombing” in the direction of the destroyer.
As reported by the representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova, the behavior of Great Britain in the situation with the Defender does not leave London a reason to get out, this is a provocation.
The documents, almost 50 pages in all, were found in a soggy heap behind a bus stop in Kent early on the morning of June 22nd.
A member of the public, who wishes to remain anonymous, contacted the BBC when he realised the sensitive nature of the contents.
The BBC believes the documents, which include emails and PowerPoint presentations, originated in the office of a senior official at the MoD.
The documents relating to the Royal Navy’s Type 45 destroyer, HMS Defender, show that a mission described by the MoD as an “innocent passage through Ukrainian territorial waters”, with guns covered and the ship’s helicopter stowed in its hangar, was conducted in the expectation that Russia might respond aggressively, the BBC reported.
The mission, dubbed “Op Ditroite”, was the subject of high-level discussions, the documents show, with officials speculating about Russia’s reaction if HMS Defender sailed close to Crimea.
“What do we understand about the possible ‘welcome party’…?” asked an official at Permanent Joint Headquarters (PJHQ), the UK’s tri-service headquarters at Northwood.
Recent interactions in the eastern Mediterranean between Russian forces and a Carrier Strike Group led by HMS Queen Elizabeth had been unremarkable and “in line with expectations”, the document said.
As such, the UK needed something “more aggressive” to propagate the narrative forward.
“Following the transition from defence engagement activity to operational activity, it is highly likely that RFN (Russian navy) and VKS (Russian air force) interactions will become more frequent and assertive,” one presentation warned.
A series of slides prepared at PJHQ shows two routeing options, one described as “a safe and professional direct transit from Odessa to Batumi”, including a short stretch through a “Traffic Separation Scheme” (TSS) close to the south-west tip of Crimea.
This route, one slide concluded, would “provide an opportunity to engage with the Ukrainian government… in what the UK recognises as Ukrainian territorial waters.”
Three potential Russian responses were outlined, from “safe and professional” to “neither safe nor professional”.
In the event, Russia chose to react aggressively, with radio warnings, coastguard vessels closing to within 100 metres and repeated buzzing by warplanes.
An alternative route was considered, which would have kept HMS Defender well away from contested waters.
This would have avoided confrontation, the presentation noted, but ran the risk of being portrayed by Russia as evidence of “the UK being scared/running away”, allowing Russia to claim that the UK had belatedly accepted Moscow’s claim to Crimean territorial waters.
As such, a middle way was found – in which Russia acted somewhat “aggressively” by firing warning shots, and the UK’s destroyer “running” with its tail between its legs, but in a remarkably brave manner, of course.
“As the public would expect, the Ministry of Defence plans carefully,” an MoD spokesperson said.
“As a matter of routine, that includes analysing all the potential factors affecting operational decisions.”
Alongside the military planning, officials anticipated competing versions of events.
“We have a strong, legitimate narrative”, they said, noting that the presence of the embedded journalists (from the BBC and Daily Mail) on board the destroyer “provides an option for independent verification of HMS Defender’s action”.
Following the controversy generated by HMS Defender’s mission, the documents discovered in Kent confirm that passage through the TSS was a calculated decision by the British government to make a show of support for Ukraine, despite the possible risks involved.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his aides can sleep calm, knowing that superficial showings of support are present, unlike any tangible support such as being accepted into NATO.