SAILORS on a Portsmouth warship have escorted a Russian military task group through the English Channel.
Frigate HMS Westminster was deployed on Friday to monitor the two Russian warships and two supporting vessels as they passed close to UK territorial waters in stormy conditions.
The Type 23 shadowed the two Steregushchiy-class frigates, Soobrazitelny and Boiky, and support vessels Paradoks and Kola over the weekend and will continue to do so until they leave British waters.
Commander Simon Kelly, Westminster’s captain, praised his crew and said: ‘The English Channel is an absolute lifeline for the UK, and it is very important HMS Westminster and the Royal Navy maintains a watchful eye on this key strategic link.’
The English Channel is one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, and with UK shipping contributing more than £10bn to Britain’s economy it is essential the Royal Navy maintains security in its waters.
The four Russian ships are believed to be returning to the Baltic after operations in the Middle East.
Last month, HMS St Albans was called to escort another Russian warship the Admiral Gorshkov, on Christmas Day.