Belfast Telegraph

Friday 28 November 2014

Russian ships pass through Channel

Royal Navy destroyer HMS Dragon, right, tracks Russian ship Vice Admiral Kulakov (left)
Royal Navy destroyer HMS Dragon, right, tracks Russian ship Vice Admiral Kulakov (left)

A Russian aircraft carrier and and a nuclear-powered battle cruiser have passed through the English Channel.

The seven-strong naval task group led by the Admiral Kuznetsov - Russia's largest warship - entered the Channel last night, a Royal Navy spokesman said .

Although the ships did not enter UK territorial waters, their movements were tracked by the Royal Navy destroyer HMS Dragon - the duty fleet-ready escort vessel - which was dispatched from Portsmouth to investigate.

The ships are believed to have been returning to the Baltic after manoeuvres in the Mediterranean.

It is not unusual for Russian warships to pass through the Channel - the same group went through in the opposite direction in December, when the fleet-ready escort vessel was also sent to investigate.

The Voice of Russia website - which often carries details of Russian naval movements - reported last month that they were due to return.

However the latest passage took place against the backdrop of heightened tensions between the West and Russia over Ukraine.

A Royal Navy spokesman said: "We can confirm that HMS Dragon was activated as the fleet-ready escort vessel. She met the task group centred around the Admiral Kuznetsov."

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