Royal Navy warship escorts prowling Russian frigate through UK waters

26 December 2017

A Royal Navy warship escorted a Russian frigate through the North Sea near UK waters yesterday, according to the defence ministry.

The HMS St Albans with a company of 190, set sail on 23 December to monitor the Russian Admiral Gorshkov frigate and tracked its progress through what the Royal Navy called areas of national interest, yesterday.

According to the Navy, there had been a recent ''upsurge'' in Russian units travelling through UK waters, including on Christmas Eve when HMS Tyne was deployed to escort a Russian intelligence-gathering ship through the North Sea and the English Channel.

A Wildcat helicopter from 815 Naval Air Squadron, based at RNAS Yeovilton, also flew out to track two other Russian vessels.

HMS St Albans is set to return at Portsmouth on Boxing Day.

The media reported Commander Chris Ansell, the commanding officer of the Type 23 frigate, as saying, ''My ship's company take great pride in serving Great Britain and the role they play dealing with both the routine and unexpected.

''Missing parts of Christmas and New Year with our families is never easy, but it is absolutely required as part of our duty to keep Britain safe all year round.''

''Christmas Eve saw some particularly exciting and bumpy weather, with some of my newer sailors getting used to their sea legs, but we have made sure the job was done and I will get my team back home as soon as possible." 

Relations between the UK and Russia are strained, and UK foreign minister, Boris Johnson claimed there was ''abundant evidence'' of Moscow meddling in foreign elections during a trip to Russia last week. However, his counterpart Sergei Lavrov, said there was no proof for Johnson's claim.

Johnson said he wants to normalise relations with Russia. Moscow however, blames the UK for the poor relations between the countries.

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