Royal Navy keeps close eye on Russian warships in English Channel
The surveillance operation was described as routine by the Commander of HMS Diamond.
A Royal Navy warship has shadowed two Russian warships as they passed through the English Channel.
Type 45 destroyer HMS Diamond sailed from Dover, Kent, to monitor the Russian destroyer Severomorsk and cruiser Marshal Ustinov on Tuesday as they passed through the UK’s area of interest which is either the UK’s territorial waters or near to this area.
Commander Ben Keith, the commanding officer of the Portsmouth-based ship, said: “HMS Diamond is proud to once again be playing her part in protecting the UK by monitoring these vessels on their transit.
“This is routine business for the Royal Navy and the second time my ship’s company have undertaken such an escort duty this summer.
“While many families are enjoying their summer holidays, my ship’s company are working hard at sea to keep Britain safe and will continue to do so for as long as we are required.
“I would like to thank the families of my crew whose support is vital while we carry out our duty to the nation.”
A navy spokesman said: “The Udaloy-class destroyer Severomorsk and Slava-class cruiser Marshal Ustinov have just finished taking part in the Russian Navy Days event in the Baltic port of St Petersburg and are now deploying out of the area.
HMS Diamond continues to monitor the ships, remaining with them as they transit past Dover and along the south coast of England, after which they are expected to continue south, exiting the UK area of interest Royal Navy spokesman
“Overnight HMS Diamond has maintained watch in UK waters, monitoring the Russian warships as they approach the UK coast.
“As the ships entered the busy shipping lanes between Norfolk and continental Europe, Diamond manoeuvred into formation alongside them and made them aware of her presence.
“The ships were then escorted towards the Dover strait, one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world.
“HMS Diamond continues to monitor the ships, remaining with them as they transit past Dover and along the south coast of England, after which they are expected to continue south, exiting the UK area of interest. ”
At the beginning of the year, frigate HMS Westminster was dispatched to keep track on the activities of two Russian frigates and their support vessels returning to the Baltic after operations in the Middle
East, while HMS St Albans monitored the new Russian warship Admiral Gorshkov at Christmas.
And in June 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.
The RAF is also involved in monitoring Russian activity.
In January, two Russian Blackjack bombers were intercepted by the RAF over the North Sea.
Two RAF Typhoon fighter jets were scrambled from RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland but the Russian aircraft did not enter sovereign UK airspace.
After HMS St Albans escorted Admiral Gorshkov through the North Sea on Christmas Day last year, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said he would “not hesitate in defending our waters or tolerate any form of aggression”.
He said: “Britain will never be intimidated when it comes to protecting our country, our people, and our national interests.”