British warship shadows Russian naval ships in UK waters

A Royal Navy warship has located and escorted a Russian naval task group which was sailing in British waters, through the English Channel and up the East Coast of the UK, the Royal Navy said.

HMS Somerset, a Type 23 Frigate, along with her Merlin helicopter was used to detect and monitor the movement of the Russian warship, Vice Admiral Kulakov and its supporting ships.

The Vice Admiral Kulakov is a Russian Udaloy class Destroyer and was returning from a deployment to Syria. It was accompanied by a tanker and tug, which is standard procedure for Russian ships.

HMS Somerset intercepted the Task Group off Brest as it approached the south west of the UK last Wednesday, March 23 and escorted it through UK waters until they turned for home on March 29.

The group carried out an underway replenishment in the North Sea and off the Scottish coast outside of UK territorial waters.

The operation involved collaboration with NATO forces, with the French Ship La Motte-Picquet and Netherlands ship Friesland also tracking the Russian Task Group as it passed French and Dutch waters respectively.

The Royal Navy noted that Russian Warships of the Northern and Baltic Fleets routinely passage through UK area waters en route to deployments in the Mediterranean and Gulf regions.

Commander Michael Wood, Commanding Officer of HMS Somerset, said: “This transit was continually monitored through a coordinated response between the Royal Navy and our NATO partners.”

“The transit of Russian ships from the Mediterranean to their northern ports is not unusual, but the Royal Navy is ready at all times to protect UK territorial waters.”