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Security Brief: EUCOM Week of June 21, 2021

Week of Monday, June 21, 2021 | Issue 37

Erwan Mahoudo, EUCOM Team


The Royal Navy Type 45 Destroyer, HMS Defender[1]


Date: June 23, 2021

Location: Black Sea

Parties involved: Russian Army; British Navy

The event: On Wednesday, June 23, 2021, twenty Russian Air crafts and two Russian coastguards shadowed a British warship near the Crimean Peninsula in Ukraine. Warning shots were fired at the British ship, and a bomb was dropped on the path of the British warship.

The implications:

  • This event is reminiscent of an incident in November 2020, when Russia accused a United States ship of traveling two kilometers through its national water. Russian President Vladimir Putin is particularly interested in controlling the warfare narrative, and in this case, was able to get ahead of British authorities in shaping his message to the international community about the incident. While the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence (MOD) tried to downplay the magnitude of the event, Russian authorities are taking advantage of the situation to send a message of dominance in the region to NATO and its allies.

  • This event happens as the relationships between Russia and Britain are at their lowest point; Russia claims that the Crimean Peninsula and its waters are Russian territories, but the international community has not recognized the annexation of Crimea. From the Russian point of view, Britain was violating its international waters. It is likely that the tension between Russia and the international community could lead to miscommunication and miscalculation, and the possibility of a direct clash between Russia and the next warship sailing near Crimea. Other strike groups from NATO have used the black sea for training and the route between Ukraine and Georgia is popular.


Date: June 25, 2021

Location: Wurzburg, Germany

Parties involved: German Police

The event: An individual killed three and injured six in Wurzburg, Germany, during a knife attack. The suspect was shot in the legs by the German police before being arrested.

The implications:

  • While the individual responsible for the attack has been arrested and the event is currently under investigation, the motive has not been established at the time of the report. The lone wolf-like attack could potentially be of terrorist motive since a witness heard the attacker yell "Allahu Akbar,"[2] a comment that could indicate a terror motive. Suspected Islamist terrorists have committed several terrorist attacks in Germany in recent years. According to security services, the number of Islamists considered dangerous grew exponentially in Germany since 2015.[3]

  • Beyond the potential terrorist component to this event, mental health has been indicated as a possible explanation behind the attack. Mental health and other health-related issues will likely rise in Germany and across Europe after the COVID-19 pandemic. German officials and law enforcement should be on alert for possible similar behavior.

[1]The Royal Navy Type 45 Destroyer, HMS Defender” by UK Minister of Defense licensed under Creative Commons

[2] Germany: 3 people killed in Würzburg knife attack, Deutsche Welle, June 2021 https://www.dw.com/en/germany-3-people-killed-in-w%C3%BCrzburg-knife-attack/a-58052076

[3] Several killed in knife attack in Germany's Wuerzburg, France 24, June 2021 https://www.france24.com/en/europe/20210625-several-killed-in-knife-attack-in-germany-s-wuerzburg

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