9 Russian ships escorted from waters close to UK

The Royal Navy informed that together with its NATO allies it has escorted nine Russian Navy warships during ‘heightened levels of activity’ in the waters close to the UK.

Illustration; Image courtesy: Royal Navy

Offshore Patrol Vessels HMS Mersey and HMS Tyne joined Type 23 frigate HMS Westminster in an operation that saw allied ships monitor every movement of three Steregushchiy-class corvettes, three Ropucha-class landing ships and the same number of missile-armed patrol boats, the Royal Navy said.

“Russian ships had dispersed after their Navy Day in St Petersburg last month and sailed out from the Baltic Sea and into the North Sea for large-scale exercises,” the navy added.

The Royal Navy warships were assigned to the very high readiness Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 (SNMG1), which patrols the waters of northern Europe from the Baltic to the Atlantic.

British ships worked closely with Portuguese frigate NRP Corte-Real – the task group’s flagship – and Halifax-class frigate HMCS Toronto of the Royal Canadian Navy, while there were numerous supporting vessels from German, Norwegian and Danish navies.

“While the Russian Navy operated in a safe and professional manner, HMS Westminster combined with NATO-allied units across the North Sea and Baltic Sea to escort them throughout,” Commanding Officer of HMS Westminster, Commander Will Paston, said.

HMS Westminster joined NRP Corte-Real in the north, monitoring the missile-armed patrol boats, while under the control of HMCS Toronto, HMS Tyne and Mersey shadowed the corvettes and landing ships as they headed south towards the English Channel.

This latest operation comes after Mersey and sister ship Tyne tracked destroyer RFS Vice Admiral Kulakov as it headed into the North Sea and through the English Channel earlier this month.