Top secret military documents about Royal Navy destroyer HMS Defender left dumped at bus stop
CLASSIFIED Ministry of Defence documents revealing details about a Portsmouth warship and the British military were found at a bus stop.
The files – made up of almost 50 pages – were reportedly found dumped in a wet pile behind a bus stop in Kent on Tuesday morning, it emerged today.
The top secret document covered a range of subjects, including the predicted Russian reaction to Royal Navy destroyer HMS Defender’s passing through Ukrainian waters off the coast of Crimea on Wednesday.
The slip-up took place less than 24 hours before the £1bn warship clashed with Russian forces, who threatened the ship with military aircraft and coast guard vessels.
Another document relates to UK plans for a potential continued military presence in Afghanistan after Nato's withdrawal, the BBC reports.
A spokesman from the MoD told the broadcaster that a worker had reported the loss of secret defence papers.
The government said it had launched an investigation into the incident, according to the BBC.
Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis said he was aware of the papers found at a bus stop.
He told Sky News: ‘It’s something none of us want to see and shouldn’t be able to happen.’
The files allegedly revealed MoD intelligence on how Russia would react aggressively to Defender’s mission in the Black Sea.
The warship, supporting by a Canadian frigate, is part of the UK’s carrier strike group and was on a visit to Ukraine.
The region has been at the centre of a political row after Russia illegally annexed the Crimea in 2014.
The papers reportedly show that Defender’s mission, called 'Op Ditroite', was discussed at a high level as late as Monday.
According to the BBC, the papers show the decision to send Defender close to Crimea was a decision made by the British government to show support for Ukraine.
On Wednesday, Defender was buzzed by about 20 Russian military jets.
The sound of naval gunfire could also be heard as the ship sailed from Odessa in Ukraine to Georgia.
Russia claimed it had fired warning shots at the ship, which Whitehall denied.
Moscow accused the UK of telling ‘barefaced lies’ and warned the incident will have serious consequences.
Days before the clash, Defender’s GPS position had been faked, showing the ship charging towards a Russian naval base in Crimea – at the time the ship was recorded on live-stream video alongside in Odessa.
The MoD confirmed to The News that the data was fake, with international political experts saying it was part of a campaign of ‘disinformation’ by Moscow.