British warship escorts Russian frigate near territorial waters

A week after Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg warned of a Russian naval build-up posing threat to transport and communications links between alliance members, a British warship escorted a Russian frigate on Christmas Day as it skirted British territorial waters, the UK’s defence ministry has said.

The UK’s HMS St. Albans monitored the Russian warship Admiral Gorshkov  (pictured) in the North Sea, “keeping track of its activity in areas of national interest,” the ministry said.

On Sunday, HMS Tyne was deployed to track a Russian intelligence-gathering ship, the ministry said, adding that there is an upsurge in Russian vessels ships transiting UK waters.

Last week, during his Moscow visit, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson accused Russia of attempting to destabilise European states including Ukraine.

Stoltenberg warned Nato members that Russian’s submarine activity is at its peak since the cold war in the Atlantic and Mediterranean. Russia has invested heavily in its navy and it has deployed 13 additional submarines since 2014, he told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung.

Stoltenberg said the submarine build-up may threaten logistic and communications channels between North America and Europe and Nato needed secure and open seaways.

NATO is planning to set up a new Atlantic and logistics command and its location and structure will be determined next year, he said.