Nov. 3 (Reuters) – The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Thursday it had lodged a protest with the British ambassador after subpoenaing her over her claim that British specialists had been involved in a Ukrainian drone attack on Russia’s Black Sea fleet in the Crimea.
“The demarche stressed that such confrontational actions by the British threatened to escalate the situation and lead to unpredictable and dangerous consequences,” the ministry said in a statement.
Ambassador Deborah Bronnert arrived at the Foreign Office shortly after 10:30 a.m. when a small crowd chanted anti-British slogans and held signs that read “Britain is a terrorist state”. She left after about 30 minutes.
There was no immediate response from Britain.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova had said the ambassador would be subpoenaed over Saturday’s drone attack in Crimea, which Russia unilaterally annexed from Ukraine in 2014.
The statement noted that Britain has been training Ukrainian service personnel for some time. It said this included training divers in “deep-sea sabotage skills”.
“There is information that the British Navy has also transferred a certain number of unmanned underwater vehicles to the Ukrainian side,” it added.
Britain denies carrying out the attack, but makes no secret of the fact that it helped train and arm the Ukrainian armed forces.
Following the drone strike, Russia has temporarily suspended its participation in a UN-brokered Black Sea Grain deal.
Russia sees Britain as a particularly perfidious Western power, which, according to President Vladimir Putin, plans to destroy Russia and split up its vast natural resources.
After Russia invaded Ukraine, Britain, along with the United States and the European Union, imposed some of the toughest sanctions in history and supplied weapons to help Ukraine.
The Russian Defense Ministry has also said that British naval personnel blew up the Nord Stream gas pipelines in September, a claim London believes was false and intended to distract from Russia’s military failures in Ukraine.
Reporting by Reuters; Written by Kevin Liffey; Editing by Guy Faulconbridge
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.