The British navy has sounded the alarm over what it calls a “significant Russian presence” in waters near the UK, announcing that nine Russian vessels, including warships, have taken part in a “concerted operation” lasting several weeks.
“The Royal Navy has monitored nine Russian vessels around the UK in recent weeks,” the UK Royal Navy said in a Dec. 4 statement. “Every move made by the Russians—a surfaced submarine, destroyer, corvette, patrol ship and their supporting tugs and supply ships—was watched closely by eight RN ships from the English Channel and the Celtic Sea to waters close to the west coast of Scotland in a concerted operation over the last two weeks.”
It comes after NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg warned in September that Russia was risking a “new Cold War” by projecting power beyond its borders.
“We don’t want a new Cold War, we don’t want a new arms race, but at the same time we have to make sure that we are adapting as the world is changing,’ Stoltenberg told the Daily Telegraph in an interview, during which he warned that Russia was trying to establish a new “sphere of influence.”
Of the Russian ships, one that was being monitored is Udaloy-class destroyer the Vice-Admiral Kulakov, which sailed off the west coast of Scotland, the Royal Navy said.
First Sea Lord, Admiral Tony Radakin, said in a statement that, “Even with the pressures of Covid, we remain at short notice to respond to threats both in home waters and around the world. Despite the increase in Russian activity, both on the surface and underwater, we are always ready to respond.”
Other Russian vessels that were shadowed by the British Navy were a Kilo-class submarine, the Stary Oskol, a corvette dubbed Boikiy, a patrol ship named Vasiliy Bykov, along with support ships.
Cmdr. Philip Harper, Commanding Officer of the British patrol ship HMS Severn, which shadowed some of the Russian vessels, said in a statement, “In very challenging conditions with rough weather, Severn and several other British and allied ships, have spent 20 days ensuring that Russian transiting warships remain under our watchful eyes.”
Three Royal Navy warships, as well as Royal Air Force Typhoon and F-35s jets joined the monitoring mission, the press release indicated.
Russian ships have ramped up their forays near British waters in recent times, with a Russian submarine carrying land attack missiles intercepted by two Royal Navy warships in July.