Royal Navy warships deployed to intercept Russian vessels in English Channel

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    Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander Richard Skelton, said the move was “designed to ensure our nation’s security”. He said: “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 Royal Navy revealed today warships shadowed the progress of a four-strong Russian task group as it sailed up the Channel and into the North Sea.

    It comes after the group of four Russian vessels including the submarine-hunting destroyer Vice Admiral Kulakov was spotted sailing through the Dover Strait by the HMS Westminster about a fortnight ago. 

    Patrol ships HMS Tyne and Severn observed the same warship, plus corvette Vasily Bykov and two support vessels. 

    The Royal Navy said in a statement: “Patrol ships HMS Tyne and Severn were on hand to constantly observe the same warship, plus corvette Vasily Bykov and two support vessels as they headed in the opposite direction.

    “The Portsmouth-based ships intercepted the Russian ships on the edge of UK’s area of responsibility and remained in company with the quartet through the English Channel, through the busy Dover Straits and into the North Sea, handing over to the Belgian Navy when the force entered their area.

    “The submarine-hunting 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.”

    Russian President Vladimir Putin regularly tests the patience of his rivals by carrying out operations near their waters and airspace. 

    Last week, RAF fighter jets were scrambled to an area just off the Scottish coast after a wave of incidents involving Russian bombers.

    A RAF Voyager and two RAF Typhoons were scrambled from a number of different bases.

    The planes were responding to monitor Russian long-range aircraft flying in international airspace north of Scotland. It comes after a spate of incidents involving Russian aircraft nearing UK or NATO airspace.

    One of the RAF jets squawked the 1321 code, indicating a NATO air policing incident.

    This indicates the planes were scrambled to deal with a rival airforce nearing – or possibly even entering – NATO or UK airspace.

    The Royal Air Force confirmed that on today’s occasion the Russian aircraft turned away as they approached the UK Flight Information Region (FIR), north of the Scottish coast and as such no interception was needed.

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