Dramatic footage shows 17 ‘hostile’ Russian fighter jets buzzed Royal Navy warship near Crimea. The incident described as the most intense encounter between Russia and NATO forces in 25 years.
HMS Duncan, a $1.7 billion Type 45 Destroyer, was leading a NATO fleet through the Black Sea when a mix of Russian fighter jets and fighter-bombers repeatedly swarmed the vessel at incredible speeds. The Russian fighters flew so close ( less than 200 meters away ) to the destroyer it was feared the ship’s high-powered radar could have malfunctioned the jets’ computer systems and caused a fatal crash.
The footage shows the jets circling the ship before returning to Russian airspace with one of the pilots sending a message to Duncan’s crew, saying: “Good luck, guys.”
The documentary shows one of Duncan’s sailors saying they felt the message could have been a warning to the ship while another said: “They had 17 aircraft, we have 48 missiles – I think we’re going to win that one.”
Video of the dramatic moment in May earlier this year is being aired as part of the Channel 5 documentary following the operations of the Type 45 destroyer in the volatile region.
Defence secretary Gavin Williamson praised the actions of the crew aboard HMS Duncan in the face of Russian aggression.
Williamson said: “Over the past year, HMS Duncan and her crew have embodied the key role the UK plays in NATO.
“As NATO flagship, she has faced down brazen Russian hostility in the Black Sea with jets buzzing overhead, been stalked by Russian spy ships and played a vital role protecting NATO allies during the British, American and French strikes against Syrian chemical weapons facilities.
“Through her deployment, this world-leading ship and her crew epitomized the nation we are going to be as we exit the EU – a truly global Britain which is outward-looking and engaged on the world stage.”
Royal Navy Commodore Mike Utley said the incident involving HMS Duncan shows the challenges posed by Russian military activity.
He said: “HMS Duncan is probably the only maritime asset that has seen a raid of that magnitude in the last 25 years.”
He added: “I think their tactics are naive. What they don’t know is how capable the ship is.
“When you see that much activity, I think it reinforces the nature of what people expect at the moment and why there is a challenge from Russia.”
On Monday Russia’s coast guard opened fire on and seized three of Ukraine’s vessels, wounding two crew members, after a tense standoff in the Black Sea near the Crimean Peninsula.
Open the link to See details of the incident: Russia opened fire and captured 3 Ukrainian naval vessels, 6 wounded and 23 crew members captured
Russia blamed Ukraine for provoking the incident, which sharply escalated tensions that have been growing between the two countries since Moscow annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.
Vladimir Putin’s military has worked steadily to bolster its zone of control around the peninsula.
Earlier in the day, Russia and Ukraine traded accusations over a separate incident involving the same vessels, prompting Moscow to block passage through the narrow Kerch Strait, which separates the peninsula from the Russian mainland.
The Ukrainian navy said two of its gunboats were struck and Russian crews boarded and seized them and an accompanying tugboat.