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Black Sea incident is Russia telling the same old story


Russia claiming it chased off a British warship with warning shots and bombing runs is no surprise – but neither is the fact that little of it seems to be true.

HMS Defender entered the Black Sea knowing it would be an eventful visit. Between friendly port stops in Ukraine and Georgia, passing by the tense region of Russian-occupied Crimea was bound to be a serious business.

Moscow likes to claim that foreign ships or aircraft in its vicinity change course and retreat when challenged by Russian forces. It is usually a fiction, but Russia needs to tell its people two stories – that it is under threat from a dangerous, aggressive West, but also that Russia itself is strong and can protect itself and see off unwelcome intruders.

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