Russian warships shadowed through English Channel
By Michael Drummond, PA
Russian warships have been shadowed through the English Channel by the Royal Navy.
The four-strong group of Russian ships included the submarine-hunting destroyer Vice Admiral Kulakov, which last passed through the Dover strait two weeks ago.
It was accompanied by corvette Vasily Bykov and two support vessels on its latest trip through the Channel.
The group was intercepted by patrol ships HMS Tyne and Severn on the edge of the UK’s area of responsibility and monitored through the Channel and into the North Sea.
Escort duties were then handed over to the Belgian Navy when the force entered their area.
The Royal Navy monitors the activities of all warships belonging to non-Nato or partner nations when they pass through what is described as “the UK’s area of interest”.
Armed Forces Minister James Heappy: “The Royal Navy’s Offshore Patrol Vessels are proving their worth with yet another successful operation in defence of our home waters.
“These highly capable ships and their crews are always on watch protecting our nation’s interests all year round.”
The monitoring mission came on the back of a circumnavigation of the UK by HMS Tyne.
Tyne’s Commanding Officer Lieutenant Commander Richard Skelton said: “Once again River-class Offshore Patrol Vessels have demonstrated their versatility.
“We have quickly transitioned from Maritime Security Operations to internal navigation training and then to shadowing Russian warships – all of which is designed to ensure our nation’s security.
“This pace and level of activity is common for Tyne; during our last patrol the ship intercepted Russian warships soon after completing an exercise with our Irish counterparts.”
The Kulakov is based with the Russian Northern Fleet on the Kola Peninsula, while the Bykov had sailed all the way from the home of the Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol, Crimea.