Whatever the truth about the incident in the Black Sea yesterday involving a Russian ship and aircraft and a Royal Navy destroyer, it could be said that Britain has been sailing very close to the wind in disputed waters. Russia said it had fired warning shots and dropped bombs in the path of a British warship to chase it out of waters Moscow claims in the Black Sea off the coast of the Crimea peninsula. Britain rejected Russia’s account of the incident. A few years ago another Royal Navy destroyer was “buzzed” by 17 Russian fighter aircraft in the same area.

Is Britain looking for trouble? The Ministry of Defence will say that the Royal Navy destroyer was in Ukranian waters while Russia will say that it was in Russian territorial waters. Who do you believe? It is is difficult to know but the Royal Navy, acting on orders from the Ministry of Defence, knew that there was a good possibility of an incident with Russia if it sailed in those waters.

Yes, Russia has acted like a Bully Boy with Ukraine and yes Russian bombers often fly close to British airspace and need to be intercepted by Royal Air Forces jets, but does Britain really want to provoke Russia? It has caused a diplomatic incident and now there will be a war of words between both sides. Britain has recently signed a defence agreement with Ukraine and the two countries enjoy a close relationship. But Russia is watching and they are not amused which Britain knew from the start.