Netherlands Says Russian Fighter Jets Engaged in 'Mock Attacks' Against Navy on Black Sea

The Defense Ministry of the Netherlands said Tuesday that Russian fighter jets carried out "mock attacks" on the Dutch navy frigate in the Black Sea last week, the Associated Press reported.

The incident involving Dutch ship Zr. Ms. Evertsen happened last Thursday, just a day after Russia claimed to have fired warning shots and dropped bombs to force out a British destroyer from Crimea. Britain denied the account.

In response to Russia's actions, Dutch Defense Minister Ank Bijleveld-Schouten said: "Evertsen has every right to sail there. There is no justification whatsoever for this kind of aggressive act, which also unnecessarily increases the chance of accidents."

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Defense Minister German-Dutch Corps
04 September 2020, North Rhine-Westphalia, Münster: ATTENTION: LOCK NOTE: 13:00 - Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (r) (CDU), Federal Minister of Defense and Ank Bijleveld-Schouten (l), Minister of Defense of the Netherlands speak with a soldier during the visit of the I. German-Dutch Corps. The ministry said that the Russian jets, armed with bombs and air-to-surface rockets, flew past the frigate between 3:30 p.m and 8:30 p.m. Getty Images/Guido Kirchner

Bijleveld-Schouten called the Russian actions "irresponsible."

She said the Netherlands would speak to Russia about the incident.

The ministry said that the Russian jets, armed with bombs and air-to-surface rockets, flew past the frigate between 3:30 p.m and 8:30 p.m. and were followed by "disruptions to the Evertsen's electronic equipment."

Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula in 2014, a move not recognized by most countries, gaining access to its long Black Sea coast. Russia has chafed at NATO warships visiting near Crimea as destabilizing. In April, it declared a broader area off Crimea closed to foreign naval ships.

In April, Russia imposed restrictions on foreign naval movements near Crimea until November in a move that drew strong complaints from Ukraine and the West. Russia rejected the criticism and noted the restrictions wouldn't interfere with commercial shipping.

Earlier this year, Russia also bolstered its troops near the border with Ukraine and warned Kyiv against using force to reclaim control of the country's eastern industrial heartland, where a conflict with Russia-backed separatists has killed more than 14,000 people in seven years. Moscow withdrew some of its forces after maneuvers, but Ukrainian officials say many of them remain.

Russian Fighter Jet
MOSCOW REGION, RUSSIA - MAY 22, 2021: A Mikoyan MiG-29 multirole fighter aircraft scale model performs at the Sky: Theory and Practice aviation festival at the Chernoye airfield near Moscow. Vladimir Gerdo/Getty Images