Classified Ministry of Defence documents containing details about HMS Defender and the British military have been found at a bus stop in Kent.
UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) said an employee reported the loss of the documents last week, which were discovered by a member of the public behind a bus stop in Kent.
The government said an investigation had been launched.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said it is investigating “an incident in which sensitive defense papers were recovered by a member of the public”. The MoD employee concerned reported the loss at the time, it said.
A member of the public, who wishes to remain anonymous, found the 50-odd pages of documents. He then contacted the BBC when he realized the sensitive nature of the contents.
The documents, which include emails and PowerPoint presentations, originated in the office of a senior official at the MoD.
The BBC reports that the documents found at the bus stop discuss Russia’s likely reactions to HMS Defender’s passage on Wednesday.
On Wednesday, more than 20 Russian aircraft and two coastguard ships shadowed the warship as it sailed about 19-km off Crimea’s coast. Moscow’s defense ministry said a patrol ship fired warning shots and a jet dropped bombs in the destroyer’s path. But the UK government rejected this account, denying any warning shots had been fired.
The bundle of documents also includes updates on arms exports campaigns, including sensitive observations about areas where Britain might find itself competing with European allies. And there are briefing notes for last Monday’s session of the UK-US Defence Dialogue, including observations on US President Joe Biden’s first months in office.
The document discusses an American request for British assistance in several specific areas. And also addresses the question of whether any British special forces will remain in Afghanistan once the withdrawal is complete.