Britain Escorts Russian Ship Near National Waters amid Strained Relations

Britain Escorts Russian Ship Near National Waters amid Strained Relations

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Images from an infrared camera on a helicopter show Royal Navy frigate HMS St Albans escorting Russian warship Admiral Gorshkov as it passes close to UK territorial waters through the North Sea in an image from an infrared camera on a helicopter handed out
Images from an infrared camera on a helicopter show Royal Navy frigate HMS St Albans escorting Russian warship Admiral Gorshkov as it passes close to UK territorial waters through the North Sea in an image from an infrared camera on a helicopter handed out by Britain's Royal Navy December 25, 2017. Royal Navy/Handout via REUTERS

LONDON (Reuters)

A British ship escorted a Russian vessel as it passed near UK territorial waters over Christmas, Britain’s defence ministry said on Tuesday, adding that Russian naval activity near Britain had increased in the holiday period

The frigate HMS St Albans departed on Dec. 23 to track the new Russian warship Admiral Gorshkov as it moved through the North Sea. The Royal Navy vessel monitored the Russian ship over Christmas and will return to dock in Portsmouth later on Tuesday.

 

Britain's Secretary of State for Defence, Gavin Williamson sits opposite U.S. Secretary for Defense, Jim Mattis, before a meeting at the Ministry of Defence in central London
Britain’s Secretary of State for Defence, Gavin Williamson sits opposite U.S. Secretary for Defense, Jim Mattis, before a meeting at the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in central London, Britain November 10, 2017. REUTERS/Simon Dawson/

 

UK defence minister Gavin Williamson said in a statement after the incident that he would “not hesitate in defending our waters or tolerate any form of aggression“.

Relations between Britain and Russia are strained, and UK foreign minister Boris Johnson said there was “abundant evidence” of Moscow meddling in foreign elections during a trip to Russia last week. His counterpart Sergei Lavrov said there was no proof for Johnson’s claim.

 

Images from an infrared camera on a helicopter show Royal Navy frigate HMS St Albans escorting Russian warship Admiral Gorshkov as it passes close to UK territorial waters through the North Sea in an image from an infrared camera on a helicopter handed out
Images from an infrared camera on a helicopter show Royal Navy frigate HMS St Albans escorting Russian warship Admiral Gorshkov as it passes close to UK territorial waters through the North Sea in an image from an infrared camera on a helicopter handed out by Britain’s Royal Navy December 25, 2017. Royal Navy/Handout via REUTERS

 

While Johnson said he wants to normalise relations with Russia, Moscow blames London for the poor state of relations between the countries.

Britain’s defence ministry said another ship, HMS Tyne, was called to escort a Russian intelligence-gathering ship through the North Sea and the English Channel on Christmas Eve. A helicopter was subsequently dispatched to monitor two other Russian vessels.

 

(Reporting by Alistair Smout, editing by Ed Osmond)

 

 

Images from an infrared camera on a helicopter show Royal Navy frigate HMS St Albans escorting Russian warship Admiral Gorshkov as it passes close to UK territorial waters through the North Sea in an image from an infrared camera on a helicopter handed out
Images from an infrared camera on a helicopter show Royal Navy frigate HMS St Albans escorting Russian warship Admiral Gorshkov as it passes close to UK territorial waters through the North Sea in an image from an infrared camera on a helicopter handed out by Britain’s Royal Navy December 25, 2017. Royal Navy/Handout via REUTERS
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