Adam Forrest – The Independent March 6, 2019
HMS Defender was deployed at weekend to keep watch on the frigate Admiral Gorshkov and three auxiliary ships.
A Navy spokesman said: “Portsmouth-based Defender is monitoring the Russian task group and keeping track of their activity in areas of national interest.”
The Russian group comprises the frigate Admiral Gorshkov, tug Nicolay Chiker, supply ship Elbrus and tanker Kama.
The Gorshkov is reportedly fitted with Russia’s Filin 5P-42 device – a “visual optical interference” weapon which can cause “dizziness, nausea and feelings of disorientation”.
Mark Lancaster, armed forces minister, said: “The Royal Navy is always standing ready to defend the UK. We will continue to work with our allies to shadow Russian ships passing through international waters close to our shores, to ensure the Russian navy follows the correct protocol on its journey.”
HMS Defender left Newcastle on Saturday to head north east of Scotland to meet the Russian task group in time for the ships to pass the UK coastline on Tuesday.
It will continue to shadow the ships as they pass through the English Channel.
Commander Richard Hewitt, the commanding officer of HMS Defender, said: “The security of the seas around our coastline remains crucial to our national interests.
“Escorting the Admiral Gorshkov has demonstrated the Royal Navy’s enduring commitment to protecting our home waters and readiness to undertake such tasking whenever it’s required.”
Additional reporting by PA