Royal Navy shadows newest Russian missile frigate in North Sea (PHOTO)
‘Admiral Gorshkov’, Russia’s newest guided-missile frigate, has been traversing the North Sea off the UK coast, prompting the Royal Navy to dispatch HMS ‘St Albans’ to “keep watch on the new Russian warship ‘Admiral Gorshkov’ as it passed close to UK territorial waters.”
According to the Royal Navy’s photos, apparently shot from the air, the vessels were sailing fairly close to each other. HMS ‘St Albans’, a Type 23 destroyer, scrambled a helicopter to monitor the Russian frigate.
Seen through the WESCAM of an @RNASCuldrose Merlin helicopter (829 NAS) - this is @HMSStAlbans escorting a Russian warship through the North Sea on Christmas Day. Always at high readiness, the ship & embarked aviators keep Britain's waters safe all year. https://t.co/mXEJW2PV1jpic.twitter.com/3mQt362CaQ— RNAS Culdrose (@RNASCuldrose) December 26, 2017
‘Admiral Gorshkov’, which is undergoing open sea trials, has been routinely sailing between the White Sea off Russia’s northern coast and the Baltic. However, this time prompted the British military to respond with a message which may seem a little bit over the top.
“I will not hesitate in defending our waters or tolerate any form of aggression. Britain will never be intimidated when it comes to protecting our country, our people, and our national interests,” Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said in a statement.
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “I will not hesitate in defending our waters or tolerate any form of aggression. Britain will never be intimidated when it comes to protecting our country, our people, and our national interests."Full story: https://t.co/Ja6g8B0NnMpic.twitter.com/yxRn32kKLI— Royal Navy (@RoyalNavy) December 26, 2017
The issue was also immediately exploited by the British media, which apparently decided to drum up anti-Russian hysteria a little bit more, even though there were absolutely no grounds for concern. Their efforts even caught the attention of the Russian embassy in the UK, which sarcastically commented on the inaccuracy in a report published by the Sun.
Not to be confused with the similarly-named, Soviet-era aircraft carrier, ‘Admiral Gorshkov’ is the latest blue-water ship designed for the Russian Navy. She was launched in 2010 in St. Petersburg and is expected to enter service by the end of the year. The frigate is armed with a 130mm main gun and carries multiple cells fitted with P-800 Oniks and/or Kalibr cruise missiles.
The Royal Navy has on several occasions boasted of successful intercepts of Russian surface ships and submarines transitioning through international waters on an announced route and without any attempt to hide.
In April this year, Type 23 frigate HMS ‘Sutherland’ escorted two Russian corvettes, ‘Soobrazitelny’ and ‘Boiky’, while the vessels were passing through English Channel during a naval exercise. Russia’s embassy in the UK said at the time that “Russian warships on the high seas in the English Channel don't need senseless escorts.”