Skip to main content

Navy: Black Sea

Question for Ministry of Defence

UIN HL1574, tabled on 29 June 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made, if any, of the reported comments by General Sir Nick Carter that incidents such as the recent confrontation with Russia off the Crimea are giving him “sleepless nights” and are an example of where a miscalculation could come from an “unwarranted escalation”.

Answered on

7 July 2021

The Ministry of Defence conducts careful assessment of the risks associated with all operations to avoid miscalculation and unintended escalation.

With regard to HMS DEFENDER’s route through the Black Sea, freedom of navigation is a fundamental right exercised by all nations. HMS DEFENDER was conducting innocent passage, taking the most direct route from Odesa to Batumi through Ukrainian territorial waters using an internationally recognised Traffic Separation Scheme. The UK does not recognise Russian claims to the waters in question, nor do we recognise the Russian assertion that HMS DEFENDER was in violation of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. The UK takes its Treaty obligations, including the management of operational risk, very seriously and it remains essential that all conduct is safe and professional and in accordance with international law. The Royal Navy’s presence is about cooperating with our partners and Allies to advance regional security, stability and freedom of navigation.