Classified Ministry of Defence papers found at bus stop in Kent

Classified defence documents containing details about HMS Defender and the military have been found at a bus stop, prompting an investigation from the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

The department said an employee reported the loss of the documents last week, which were discovered by a member of the public in a soggy heap behind a bus stop in Kent early on Tuesday morning, the BBC reported.

The papers included one set of documents that discussed the potential Russian reaction to HMS Defender’s travel through Ukrainian waters off the Crimea coast on Wednesday, according to the BBC, while another laid out plans for a possible UK military presence in Afghanistan.

A member of the public, who wanted to remain anonymous, contacted the organisation when they found the 50 pages of classified information.

The MoD said HMS Defender “conducted innocent passage through Ukrainian territorial waters in accordance with international law” and that all potential factors were considered when making operational decisions.

An MoD spokesperson said in a statement: “As the public would expect, the Ministry of Defence plans carefully. As a matter of routine, that includes analysing all the potential factors affecting operational decisions. HMS Defender conducted innocent passage through Ukrainian territorial waters in accordance with international law.

“The Ministry of Defence was informed last week of an incident in which sensitive defence papers were recovered by a member of the public. The department takes the security of information extremely seriously and an investigation has been launched. The employee concerned reported the loss at the time. It would be inappropriate to comment further.”

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