Russia and Britain: Are we already in conflict?
Play • 30 min
Vladimir Putin has accused the UK and US of “provocation” following the incident involving HMS Defender. Last week, The Royal Navy warship was shadowed by Russian vessels and buzzed by jets as it sailed through the disputed waters around Crimea near the Russian Black Sea Fleet headquarters in Sevastopol. The Russian president claimed there was US involvement in the operation, with an American plane sent to monitor Moscow’s response. Moscow claimed that warning shots were fired by Russian vessels at the destroyer as it passed through the contested part of the Black Sea on June 23 – an assertion dismissed by the UK Government, which said only that a routine “gunnery exercise” took place. During a marathon live call-in show on Russian television, Mr Putin said “I don’t think we were on the brink of World War Three” but the incident “was a provocation”. Will this mean that we are already in a conflict with Russia - one that's even more intense than the Cold War and could this one get hotter? Andy Bell speaks with former Europe minister in the Labour Government and now Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Russia, Chris Bryant. Mr Bryant talks us through the relationship between Russia and Britain since Vladimir Putin took power. "Cordial but robust" is how Chris would describe the relationship Britain should have with Russia. "We are already in conflict," he points out and there is a "semi warfare going on already" but he doesn't think Britain and Russia will end up shooting artillery at one another.
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