Royal Navy escorts Russian destroyer Vice Admiral Kulakov through English Channel

Royal Navy frigate HMS Somerset scrambled recently to shadow a Russian naval destroyer as it transited the Moray Firth, returning home from the Mediterranean Sea.

It was not the Kulakov’s first visit to UK waters as the destroyer was also shadowed by HMS Somerset from the same position in the Moray Firth in March 2016.

The Russian Northern Fleet was conducting a long voyage mission in the Mediterranean Sea, visiting ports in Cyprus, Egypt and Oman.

Somerset, a Plymouth-based Type 23 frigate, detected and monitored the movements of the Russian warship Vice Admiral Kulakov and her supporting tanker.

HMS Somerset had been engaged in trials of her sonar equipment when she received the call to locate and shadow the Russian units.

She arrived in the Moray Firth on Saturday (18 November) and escorted the ships through UK waters and north along the coast of Norway before returning to her original task.

Commander Timothy Berry, HMS Somerset’s Commanding Officer, said: “As with all Royal Navy ships operating in UK waters, HMS Somerset was at a high state of alert to deal with any maritime security task such as this.

“Monitoring transits of non-NATO warships through UK territorial waters is part of what the Royal Navy does all year round to keep Britain safe.

“We now continue with our original tasking having seen the Russian ships safely through the UK’s area of interest.”