Royal Navy frigate escorts Russian destroyer through the Channel

Royal Navy’s Type 23 frigate HMS Sutherland escorted the Russian Navy’s Udaloy-class destroyer as it started a transit through the English Channel.

The Devonport-based frigate deployed from its base in Plymouth early on Saturday morning (3 December) to a position at the western edge of the Channel to meet the Kulakov as she arrived in UK waters.

The Vice Admiral Kulakov was operating in the Eastern Mediterranean until recently and has been under escort by NATO warships ever since she started her return journey.

Vice Admiral Kulakov deployed to the Mediterranean together with the Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov and other ships from the carrier strike group but is now returning home alone.

According to the Royal Navy, HMS Sutherland will keep track of the Kulakov’s position and movements to the NATO Maritime Commander’s Headquarters on the outskirts of London.

Commander Trish Kohn, commanding officer of HMS Sutherland, said: “This transit is being 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.”

HMS Sutherland has been tasked with patrolling the seas around the UK since the summer, holding the duties of fleet ready escort; this follows the work of Portsmouth-based Type 23 HMS Richmond and Type 45 HMS Duncan earlier this year.