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Wednesday 27 September 2023 Dublin: 12°C
Royal Navy A British Royal Navy sailor monitors a Russian warship off the coast of Cork.
# celtic sea
British Royal Navy release details of their operations off Ireland monitoring Russian ships
The British activity, as well as French, Dutch and Belgian vessels are part of Standing NATO Maritime Task Group One.

THE BRITISH ROYAL Navy has revealed details of their operation monitoring Russian naval vessels off the coast of Cork last week. 

A spokesperson has said that three Royal Navy vessels were involved in the shadowing of the Russian Navy task force in the Celtic Sea. 

As reported by The Journal the military operation was underway in international waters inside the Irish Exclusive Economic Zone.

In January this website reported on the Russian Naval operations off the Irish coast just before they launched their invasion of Ukraine.  

It is understood that the Irish Navy dispatched a ship to the area and the Air Corps were also monitoring the activities of the vessels with repeated flights.

In a detailed release of information the British said they sent Type 23 frigates HMS Westminster, HMS Lancaster and HMS Richmond tracked Slava-class cruiser, Marshal Ustinov and Udaloy-class destroyer Vice-Admiral Kulakov, and their tanker Vyazma.

The Ustinov is the sister ship of the Moskva which was sunk in the Black Sea in April in a suspected attack by Ukrainian forces. 

“The British ships tracked the Russian task group as they made their journey home from the eastern Mediterranean after supporting Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine since February.

“The frigates and their helicopters used an array of cutting-edge sensors and modern naval technology to keep close watch in the Celtic Sea and through the English Channel,” a Royal Navy statement said.

IMG_0409 Royal Navy The Russian ships, shadowed by a British Frigate, refuel off the south coast of Ireland. Royal Navy

HMS Westminster’s Commanding Officer, Commander Ed Moss-Ward, said that the activities of the British ships in the adjoining Irish EEZ were part of a broader maritime security strategy of Britain’s “prosperity and resilience”.

“The Royal Navy routinely responds to escort warships in UK territorial waters and the adjacent sea areas to ensure compliance with maritime law, to deter malign activity and to protect our national interests.

“Escorting the Russian task group has demonstrated that the Royal Navy is committed to maintaining maritime security and to co-operating with our NATO Allies.”

The British activity, as well as French, Dutch and Belgian vessels are part of Standing NATO Maritime Task Group One.

This is a fast response task force operated by the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation in the Atlantic. 

Commander Tom Johnson, Commanding Officer of HMS Lancaster, a second British vessel, shadowed the Russian ships from the Strait of Gibraltar to the Celtic Sea.

“Working together allows NATO allies to respond to security challenges at pace and collectively deter potential aggressors.

“Exchange of personnel further deepens NATO cohesion and interoperability so that the alliance can swiftly and efficiently react to any threat. Lancaster’s team work exceptionally hard to ensure we are always ready to respond to any threat at a moment’s notice,” he said. 

René Tas, of the Dutch Navy released a tweet earlier today with images of the vessels. 

In his tweet he said: “Under the supervision of the (Dutch Navy). Rotterdam, several Russian ships have sailed through the North Sea in recent days. Safety on and from the sea.”

A statement on the Dutch Royal Navy’s website said that their vessel the Rotterdam was monitoring the vessels and said the Russian ships had been operating in the Mediterranean for the last six months. 

HMS Westminster deployed from Portsmouth to intercept the Russian ships in the Celtic Sea, where they paused, separating from each other spread across to 60 nautical miles while the Marshal Ustinov was refuelled by the tanker Vyazma.

Commanding Officer, Commander Chris L’Amie said his vessel HMS Richmond was deployed by the British to keep watch in the English Channel.

“At short notice, HMS Richmond intercepted the Russian Federation Navy’s Surface Action Group in the English Channel. We will closely monitor the task group’s activity whilst demonstrating the UK’s resolve, and the capability and professionalism of the Royal Navy.”

There was a extra Russian ship in the area also. As the Celtic Sea operation was underway, Royal Navy patrol ship HMS Mersey shadowed Russian military research vessel Akademik Ioffe on its journey south through the Dover shipping lanes and into the Channel.

There was also signs of the Professor Logachev heading south off Dover.

In 2021 concerns were raised when a Russian spy ship, Yantar, was sighted in an area of sea south of Ireland where a large number of communication cables are located. 

Yesterday French and Belgian ships monitored the flotilla move into the North Sea. At lunchtime Dutch and Belgian vessels were following them north off the coast of the Netherlands. 

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