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The HMS Defender in the port of Odessa on Ukraine's Black Sea coast on June 18. Photo: Konstantin Sazonchik\TASS via Getty Images

Russia's defense ministry claimed Wednesday that a Russian warship and fighter jet fired "warning" shots at the British Royal Navy’s HMS Defender destroyer for encroaching on waters near Crimea in the Black Sea.

The latest: The U.K.'s ministry of defense disputed that any warning shots were fired, saying in a statement, "We believe the Russians were undertaking a gunnery exercise in the Black Sea and provided the maritime community with prior-warning of their activity."

  • "No shots were directed at HMS Defender and we do not recognise the claim that bombs were dropped in her path," the statement said.
  • "The Royal Navy ship is conducting innocent passage through Ukrainian territorial waters in accordance with international law."

Why it matters: It would be the first time since the Cold War that Russia has used live ammunition to deter a NATO vessel, according to AP.

  • Russia has frequently accused NATO of performing "destabilizing" operations in the Black Sea, despite the fact that NATO members Turkey, Greece and Bulgaria all have territorial claims to its waters.
  • Russia illegally annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, and has conducted extensive military exercises in the Black Sea that threaten to strangle Ukraine's economy by choking off shipping lanes.

The state of play: Russia's defense ministry said the British destroyer left the area after warning shots by a Russian warship and bombing along its path by an Su-24 attack aircraft.

  • Sergei Tsekov, a senator for the legislature of Crimea, called the British warship's movements "a flagrant violation of international norms and standards," warning that it could "provoke a serious conflict," according to state media.
  • The Russian defense ministry said it summoned the British embassy's military attache after the incident.

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

Go deeper

Menendez, 10 European foreign affairs committee chairs condemn Nord Stream 2 deal

President Biden with German Chancellor Angela Merkel Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and 10 of his European counterparts signed onto a joint statement Monday voicing their opposition to the U.S.-Germany deal on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, calling it "another tool" for Russia to "pressure and blackmail" Ukraine.

Why it matters: Outrage over the agreement, which will allow Russia to circumvent Ukraine and deliver gas directly to Europe, goes beyond just Republican Biden critics on Capitol Hill.

Landlords mount legal challenge to Biden admin's new eviction moratorium

President Biden at the White House on Tuesday. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

A group of landlords and real-estate companies issued a legal challenge on Wednesday night in a D.C. district court to the Biden administration's new national eviction moratorium.

Driving the news: The Alabama and Georgia Associations of Realtors' emergency motion argues that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's order Tuesday barring evictions for most of the U.S. through Oct. 3 exceeds the CDC's powers, according to a statement from the National Association of Realtors.

Updated 2 hours ago - Sports

U.S. Olympic beach volleyball duo one step away from realizing gold medal dream

April Ross and Alix Klineman of Team USA celebrate after the play against Team Cuba during the Women's Round of 16 beach volleyball on day ten of the Tokyo Games. Photo: Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Alix Klineman and April Ross are guaranteed to earn at least an Olympic silver medal after defeating Switzerland 2-0 in the Tokyo Games on Thursday morning local time.

Of note: It's the latest chapter in an enduring partnership, driven by past failures and bound by future aspirations.