An unknown searcher discovered the documents on Tuesday morning. They were wet behind the bus stop. According to the BBC, these include emails and PowerPoint presentations from the office of a senior Defense Ministry employee. That department confirms that an employee reported the loss of sensitive defense documents, but does not wish to comment further on the finding.
The documents contain information about the mission of HMS Defender in the Black Sea. Unrest erupted last week when Russia announced it had fired warning shots at the ship. The British denied this and said that the Russians had only conducted target exercises. The BBC writes that prior to the incident, there had been high-level speculation about how the Russians would react if the ship came close to De Krim.
According to the documents received, the British took several scenarios into account. These ranged from a “safe and professional” Russian response to a “neither safe nor professional” response. Re-routing the HMS Defender and avoiding disputed waters would also have been considered. However, the defense feared that Moscow would present this as an example of British cowardice or as evidence that the British viewed the waters off the peninsula as Russian territory.
A Guardian reporter points out that the revelations give a special twist to reports of warning shots.
The BBC also obtained highly sensitive data about Afghanistan. Western troops will leave the country in the coming months after fighting the Taliban there for 20 years. The documents discuss, among other things, the possibility that the United Kingdom will continue to be active in the country with all associated risks with special units after that return. A ‘complete withdrawal’ would still be possible.
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