The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) revealed, on Sunday, that secret documents from the British Ministry of Defense, dealing with the possible Russian reaction to the passage of a British destroyer off the Crimea, were found at a bus station in England.
The citizen who found the documents, about 50 pages of sensitive material, including emails and PowerPoint presentations, in Kent, southeast England, contacted public radio and chose not to be identified.
A Defense Ministry spokesman said one of its officials had previously reported missing documents and deemed it “inappropriate” to provide further comment on the matter.
Among the information contained in the documents are details of the passage of the British destroyer HMS Defender through the waters off Crimea, which this week increased tensions between London and Moscow.
The Russian Navy claims it fired warning shots after the British ship failed to respond to calls to withdraw.
The United Kingdom denied this account and claimed that its ship was “innocent passage through Ukrainian territorial waters in accordance with international law” and that it did not hear any warning shots.
Documents that have emerged, however, indicate that London was already dependent on Russia to respond forcefully to the destroyer’s invasion.
The operation, called “Op Detroit,” was addressed last Monday by top defense officials who were expecting a “welcome party” from Russian forces.
“After the transition from defensive activities to operations, it is very likely that interactions with the RFN (Russian Navy) and VKS (Air Force) will become more frequent and assertive, warns one of the documents.
The documents found at the bus station also deal with military plans in Afghanistan, some of which have been withheld by the BBC to protect the safety of British personnel in that country.
Among other issues, the documents analyze the possibility of maintaining a British military presence in Afghanistan, once the US-led NATO mission ends.