Navy warship tracks Russian task group past the UK

A Royal Navy warship has been scrambled to follow a Russian naval task group as it sails close to UK territorial waters.

HMS Defender was deployed during the weekend to keep watch on the frigate Admiral Gorshkov and three auxiliary ships.

A Navy spokesman said: “Portsmouth-based Defender is monitoring the Russian task group and keeping track of their activity in areas of national interest.”

Armed forces minister Mark Lancaster said: “The Royal Navy is always standing ready to defend the UK.

“We will continue to work with our allies to shadow Russian ships passing through international waters close to our shores, to ensure the Russian navy follows the correct protocol on its journey.”

HMS Defender left Newcastle on Saturday to head north east of Scotland to meet the Russian task group in time for the ships to pass the UK coastline on Tuesday, and will continue to shadow the ships as they pass through the English Channel.

The group comprises the frigate Admiral Gorshkov, tug Nicolay Chiker, supply ship Elbrus and tanker Kama.

Commander Richard Hewitt, the commanding officer of HMS Defender, said: “The security of the seas around our coastline remains crucial to our national interests.

“Escorting the Admiral Gorshkov has demonstrated the Royal Navy’s enduring commitment to protecting our home waters and readiness to undertake such tasking whenever it’s required.”

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