Russian President Vladimir Putin has accused the US and UK of provocation over the Black Sea incident involving HMS Defender.
Mr Putin claimed the Royal Navy destroyer was testing how his forces would respond as it travelled through the contested waters off the Crimean peninsula, and he said a US plane was also involved in the operation.
According to a translation of his comments on the Russian state-backed RT channel, Mr Putin said: “No, I don’t think we were on the brink of World War Three.
“First of all it was a provocation, quite obviously.
“What were they trying to tell us, what goals were they trying to achieve? It was a complex provocation organised by the US and the British because a warship entered our waters during the day and then at 5pm an American warplane took off from somewhere in Greece.”
He said HMS Defender “came into our waters and they looked at how we were going to respond” then “the plane was looking at how we were going to respond”.
“I may have divulged a bit of a military secret there but I think our military is going to forgive me.”