Navy destroyer tracking Russian ship through English Channel
Portsmouth-based HMS Diamond and a Wildcat helicopter were dispatched to follow the underwater reconnaissance ship Yantar.
A Royal Navy air defence destroyer has been scrambled to shadow a Russian military ship travelling through the English Channel.
Portsmouth-based HMS Diamond and a Wildcat helicopter from 815 Naval Air Squadron at RNAS Yeovilton were dispatched to follow the underwater reconnaissance ship Yantar after it approached the UK coast.
A Navy spokesman said: “HMS Diamond met up with Yantar and will continue to monitor the vessel’s movements and activities as it continues north.”
Commander Ben Keith, commanding officer of the Type 45 destroyer, said: “HMS Diamond is proud to be doing her part to protect the UK area of interest by monitoring the Russian vessel Yantar on her transit.
“This is routine business for the Royal Navy and my ship’s company are well trained and ready at short notice to deploy for such tasking.”
The Navy spokesman added: “HMS Diamond left Portsmouth in thick fog on Wednesday evening in readiness to meet the Russian vessel, taking over from a French navy ship which had monitored her progress through the Bay of Biscay.”
He said the Russian vessel is a specialist reconnaissance ship which carries two unmanned submersible vehicles, which can descend to the sea bed and send back images as well as collecting items from the bottom of the ocean.
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “We will not hesitate in defending our waters or tolerate any form of aggression.
“Britain will never be intimidated when it comes to protecting our country, our people, and our national interests.”