Royal Navy: Portsmouth ship stalks Russian task group sailing close to the UK

A Portsmouth-based destroyer stalked a Russian task group as it sailed near UK waters.
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HMS Defender monitored the three-strong group of warships and maintained contact with the force as it travelled past the British Isles on Friday. She shadowed the Russian trio – guided-missile frigate Admiral Grigorovich and two Stereguschiy II-class corvettes, Soobrazitelny and Stoikiy – while being assisted by her Wildcat helicopter from 815 Naval Air Squadron.

Commander Peter Evans, HMS Defender’s Commanding Officer, said: ‘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.

HMS Defender monitors Russian frigate Admiral Grigorovich. Picture: LPhot Matt Bradley/Royal Navy.HMS Defender monitors Russian frigate Admiral Grigorovich. Picture: LPhot Matt Bradley/Royal Navy.
HMS Defender monitors Russian frigate Admiral Grigorovich. Picture: LPhot Matt Bradley/Royal Navy.
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RAF Typhoons and P-8A Poseidon aircraft from RAF Lossiemouth also worked alongside the huge 152 metre long vessel. Several Royal Navy vessels – HMS Portland, HMS Montrose, HMS Severn, HMS Mersey, HMS Northumberland, and HMS Kent – have been involved in similar operations over the past month.

This included monitoring other Russian vessels including Udaloy-class destroyers, Admiral Levchenko and Vice-Admiral Kulakov. HMS Defender is taking part in Operation Joint Viking with Norwegian counterparts.

CO Evans added: ‘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.’ Speaking about HMS Defender’s involvement in monitoring the Russian forces, the Royal Navy said: ‘British warships are regularly deployed on such missions, protecting the waterways close to the UK.’