Red alert in the English Channel: Royal Navy’s HMS St Albans keeps close eye on Russian warship as it passes close to UK coastline

A Russian warship passed close to the UK coastline on  April 20 as it was closely watched by HMS St Albans.

The 423 ft (129m) frigate Yaroslav Mudry made it through the English coastline and Dover Strait.

The Russian move is the latest in a series of sabre-rattling tests of the British military by Vladimir Putin’s navy and air force.

It comes as relations between the UK and Russia are at their frostiest since the Cold War, thanks to UK involvement in airstrikes in Russian ally Syria and the controversy over the nerve agent poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

The HMS St Albans is armed with machine guns, Harpoon and Seawolf missiles, a Merlin helicopter from Culdrose-based 829 Naval Air Squadron and state-of-the-art radar.

It was previously called out in December to intercept the Admiral Gorshkov when it came close to UK territories.

The Type-23 frigate is based in Portsmouth and has been having been activated earlier this week and keeping a close eye on the Russian warship.

It is the Royal Navy’s very high readiness ship and its duty is the integrity of UK waters.

Commander John Cromie, the Commanding Officer of HMS St Albans, said: ‘As the Royal Navy’s high readiness unit in UK waters, we are the first responders to any potential incursion into UK waters and are highly trained in this role.

‘Our activation today in response to the passage of a Russian warship close to the UK resulted in a cordial interaction between professional sailors based on the recognised conventions at sea.

‘We are always standing ready, as is the rest of the fleet, to defend UK waters and UK sovereignty 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.’

It comes as tensions between the UK and Russia are rising as Downing Street blamed Moscow for poisoning former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter with nerve agent Novichok.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said in December: ‘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.’

 

 

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