Putin warns of ‘unpreventable’ strikes by Russian navy

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned on Sunday his country’s navy can launch an “unpreventable strike” if needed. His warning comes just weeks after a British warship sailed through waters off Crimea, angering Moscow.

Putin was speaking in Saint Petersburg during a parade of warships, just a few weeks after the UK angered Russia by sending a British warship close to the annexed Crimea peninsula. “The Russian Navy has everything they need for the guaranteed defence of the motherland and our national interests. We are capable of detecting any underwater, above-water, or airborne enemy and, if required, carry out an unpreventable strike against it.” His remarks follow an incident in the Black Sea in June when Russia said it had fired warning shots and dropped bombs in the path of a British warship to chase it out of Crimea waters. Britain rejected Russia’s account of the incident. Instead, the UK said Russia fired during a pre-announced “gunnery exercise” and no bombs had been dropped. Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, and the Kremlin says the warship entered its territorial waters, but Britain and most of the world say the waters belong to Ukraine. Putin said last month Russia could have sunk the British warship HMS Defender, that it accused of illegally entering its territorial waters, without starting World War Three and said the United States played a role in the “provocation.”

The Russian leader added that Russia had secured its place among the world’s leading naval powers, including by developing “the latest hypersonic precision weapons still unrivaled in the world.” There are several other major powers that are planning to develop similar technology.