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Royal Navy tracks Russian warships close to the UK

2 May 2023
The Royal Navy has maintained constant watch on a Russian task group as it sailed through international waters past the UK.

Destroyer HMS Defender encountered the three-strong group of warships and reported on movements as the force continued its journey past the British Isles.

Assisted by her Wildcat helicopter from 815 Naval Air Squadron, the Portsmouth-based destroyer monitored the Russian trio – guided-missile frigate Admiral Grigorovich and two Stereguschiy II-class corvettes, Soobrazitelny (‘Astute’) and Stoikiy (‘Persistent’) – on Wednesday as they approached UK waters.

It’s the second time in six weeks that the Royal Navy – which has several warships on patrol around the UK constantly ­and others ready to move at immediate notice – has responded to the Russian Navy’s presence in home waters. In mid-March frigate HMS Portland sailed from Plymouth to track Russian Gorshkov-class guided missile frigate, Admiral Kasatonov, and support tanker, Akademik Pashin. 

“HMS Defender is the Fleet’s quick reaction escort, which means we’re ready to respond to any threats to the nation’s safety or security.  Escorting ships through UK waters is routine activity for the Royal Navy and demonstrates our commitment to the vital sea lanes upon which the UK depends,” said Commander Peter Evans, the destroyer’s Commanding Officer.

“Defender and her crew have been engaged on operations over the past three years, covering four major oceans and most of the world’s seas – and so we’re accomplished at missions such as this.”

Upon completing the escort mission HMS Defender, which is a dedicated air defence destroyer designed to shield the Fleet from missile and aircraft attacks, is earmarked to take part in NATO’s major Formidable Shield 23 exercise in the North Atlantic, where the ship will work with the UK’s allies and showcasing the Type 45 destroyer as one of the world’s best air defence ships.

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