Royal Navy: Number of Russian warships sailing past UK in recent times revealed as Portsmouth ships stalk them

The Royal Navy is continuing to keep a sharp eye on Russian warships sailing into English waters.
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Statistics for the number of Vladimir Putin’s vessels was revealed in parliament this week, as Portsmouth-based ships played their part in monitoring them. The task has become every more important as the bitter Russian invasion of Ukraine continues.

In a written question submitted in parliament, former First Sea Lord and current member of the House of Lords, Lord West of Spithead – Labour – asked the government how many times Russian ships has made incursions into the UK’s Exclusive Economic Zone. Baroness Annabel Goldie, Minister of State for defence, confirmed the number of Russian ships that ventured into national waters in 2021 and 2022.

HMS Defender monitoring Russian ship Stoikiy last month. Picture: LPhot Matt Bradley/Royal Navy.HMS Defender monitoring Russian ship Stoikiy last month. Picture: LPhot Matt Bradley/Royal Navy.
HMS Defender monitoring Russian ship Stoikiy last month. Picture: LPhot Matt Bradley/Royal Navy.
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She said: ‘Defence does not routinely record and archive the number of entries by foreign vessels into the UK's Exclusive Economic Zone. The number of instances that the Royal Navy is employed to escort a foreign vessel is, however, recorded.

‘In 2021 the Royal Navy escorted 66 Russian warships through UK waters; 41 such warships were escorted in 2022. During the same period the Royal Navy also located and tracked several Russian submarines in the UK's marine area to guard against intrusion into UK sensitive waters.’

Type 45 Destroyer HMS Defender, among other ships, kept her beady eyes on a trio of Russian warships – guided-missile frigate Admiral Grigorovich and two Stereguschiy II-class corvettes, Soobrazitelny and Stoikiy – last month. Portsmouth-based patrol vessel, HMS Mersey, also stalked the Smolnyy-class vessel Perekop as it travelled close to the Kent shoreline on June 27.

HMS MERSEY monitored the Russian warship Perekop as she travelled through the English Channel last month. Pictured is HMS Mersey arriving into Portsmouth Harbour in 2022. Picture: Sam Stephenson.HMS MERSEY monitored the Russian warship Perekop as she travelled through the English Channel last month. Pictured is HMS Mersey arriving into Portsmouth Harbour in 2022. Picture: Sam Stephenson.
HMS MERSEY monitored the Russian warship Perekop as she travelled through the English Channel last month. Pictured is HMS Mersey arriving into Portsmouth Harbour in 2022. Picture: Sam Stephenson.

Perekop carries naval cannons, two twin anti-aircraft guns and an anti-submarine rocket launcher. A Royal Navy spokeswoman said this work is the ‘normal response’ when a military vessel sails past the UK.

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She told The News: ‘As part of a unified response with our allies, we monitor the presence of Russian Ships as they transit through the English Channel. The Royal Navy routinely responds to escort warships in UK territorial waters and adjacent sea areas to ensure compliance with maritime law, to deter malign activity and protect our national interests.’