The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has respoded to reports in Russia claiming “warning shots” were fired at a British Royal Navy destroyer.

The MOD has denied the claims by Russia that its forces fired warning shots at a British warship after it entered the country’s territorial waters in the Black Sea.

In a statement posted on Twitter, the MOD said: “No warning shots have been fired at HMS Defender.

“The Royal Navy ship is conducting innocent passage through Ukrainian territorial waters in accordance with international law.

“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 Russia Defence Ministry said shots were fired and bombs were dropped in the path of HMS Defender in waters off Crimea.

Moscow’s defence ministry claimed a border patrol boat fired warning shots at HMS Defender and a Su-24M warplane dropped four bombs after the British warship entered the country’s territorial waters in the Black Sea.

Russia said the incident happened near Cape Fiolent in the south of Crimea.

“The destroyer was warned in advance that weapons would be fired in case of a violation of the Russian state border. It disregarded the warning,” the statement said.

“As a result of joint actions of the Black Sea Fleet and the Border Service of the Russian Federal Security Service, HMS Defender left the territorial sea of the Russian Federation.”

HMS Defender – a Type 45 destroyer – is part of the UK Carrier Strike Group currently heading to the Indo-Pacific region.