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Royal Navy frigate HMS St Albans escorts Russian warship through English Channel

The Portsmouth-based Type 23 frigate is currently tasked with protecting UK waters and has been activated to keep watch on Russian Slava-class cruiser Marshall Ustinov.

The Russian unit – accompanied by an auxiliary ship and tug – recently left the Mediterranean and was tracked by allied French naval warships through the Bay of Biscay. 

As the current Fleet Ready Escort, HMS St Albans is the Royal Navy’s very high readiness ship which is charged with protecting the integrity of UK waters. And she was therefore prepared to monitor the Russians as they entered the Channel, taking over the watch from the French warships. 

Commander John Cromie, the Commanding Officer of HMS St Albans, said: “As the fleet ready escort, HMS St Albans is held at high readiness to respond to any foreign warship that might represent a potential threat to the integrity of UK waters.

“In this instance the interaction between St Albans and Marshall Ustinov has proven both cordial and professional, reflecting the mutual understanding of customs that exist between professional mariners. My crew are however trained to the very highest standard and are prepared to respond to any eventuality.”

St Albans deployed her Merlin helicopter to observe the movements of the task group as they navigate along the south coast of the UK. The frigate will now continue to monitor the Ustinov through the English Channel until she has left UK territorial waters.

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