Portsmouth’s Royal Navy warship shadows Russians through the channel

HMS Hurworth, which followed a Russian warship earlier this week. Photo: Royal Navy
HMS Hurworth, which followed a Russian warship earlier this week. Photo: Royal Navy

RUSSIA’S newest warship has been shadowed by the Royal Navy as it sailed through the English Channel.

Portsmouth-based minehunter HMS Hurworth and a Wildcat HMA2 helicopter from 815 Naval Air Squadron based at Yeovilton were scrambled to monitor the Admiral Makarov.

The 4,000-tonne Admiral Grigorovich-class frigate which only joined the Russian fleet at the end of last year is the latest in a number of Russian warships to be watched over by the Royal Navy as they sail close to UK shores.

A Royal Navy spokesman said: ‘They are the latest Royal Navy assets to be activated over the summer to monitor the activity of Russian surface ships sailing in or close to the UK's sphere of interest.

‘Patrol ship HMS Mersey, destroyer HMS Diamond and frigate Montrose have all been dispatched to observe Russian vessels passing the UK in the past two months.’

The commanding officer of the Royal Navy's aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth has spoken of the ‘eye-watering’ level of Russian naval activity in the Atlantic region in recent years.

Prior to setting sail from Portsmouth, Captain Jerry Kyd said: ‘The increase in Russian activity we have seen in the last couple of years is frightening and for national security reasons it just underlines why we need to maintain a balanced, strong and able, capable fleet.’

On August 7, Type 45 destroyer HMS Diamond sailed from Dover, Kent, to monitor the Russian destroyer Severomorsk and cruiser Marshal Ustinov.

At the beginning of the year, frigate HMS Westminster was dispatched to keep track of the activities of two Russian frigates and their support vessels returning to the Baltic after operations in the Middle East, while HMS St Albans monitored the new Russian warship Admiral Gorshkov at Christmas.

And in June, HMS Diamond and a Wildcat helicopter from 815 Naval Air Squadron at RNAS Yeovilton were dispatched to follow the underwater reconnaissance ship Yantar after it approached the UK coast.

The RAF is also involved in monitoring Russian activity. In January, two Russian Blackjack bombers were intercepted by the RAF over the North Sea.

Two RAF Typhoon fighter jets were scrambled from RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland but the Russian aircraft did not enter sovereign UK airspace.