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HMS Defender: Black Sea

Question for Ministry of Defence

UIN HL1575, tabled on 29 June 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what risk assessment was carried out, if any, of HMS Defender’s mission to sail close to the Russian Black Sea Fleet headquarters on 23 June.

Answered on

13 July 2021

HMS DEFENDER's mission was not to sail close to the Russian Black Sea Fleet HQ.

HMS DEFENDER's route through the Crimean Traffic Separation Scheme was the most direct route between the ports of Odesa and Batumi, visited by HMS DEFENDER as part of planned defence engagement activity from 18 to 22 June and 26 to 29 June respectively. The Crimean Traffic Separation Scheme is an internationally recognised shipping route for all maritime vessels and HMS DEFENDER's route utilised the right of innocent passage in accordance with the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

As with all operational activity, the risks and benefits of HMS DEFENDER's route were considered in advance of the ship's movements, with expert advice from defence planning staff.