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UK Navy Unveils Plan to Beef Up Presence in N Atlantic Ahead of NATO Summit

© AP Photo / Marcos MorenoThe 65,000-tonne HMS Queen Elizabeth, the largest warships ever built for the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom, arrives at the British territory of Gibraltar on Friday, Feb. 9, 2018
The 65,000-tonne HMS Queen Elizabeth, the largest warships ever built for the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom, arrives at the British territory of Gibraltar on Friday, Feb. 9, 2018 - Sputnik International
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The Royal Navy is following the example of Washington, which reactivated its Second Feet two months ago in a bid to counter what they consider to be Russia's resurgence.

A new Joint Area of Operations will be set up in the North Atlantic, Admiral Sir Philip Andrew Jones, the First Sea Lord and chief of naval staff, told Sky News in a television interview. This means that the United Kingdom's naval and aerial warfare forces will be deployed to the area much more regularly.

The First Sea Lord said that the military build-up in the North Atlantic was prompted by what he called an "intensifying resurgence of capability and scale that we didn't necessarily see coming maybe 10 years ago," referring to the Russian Navy.

"We have had to respond to that — it is also very modern, it is very capable," he stated.

Admiral Jones described the signature mobility and capability of Russian vessels as "very impressive." "They've clearly been investing in the research and development to be able to do this," he added.

The Royal Navy chief cited concerns over Russia's capability to "detect and work on" undersea fiber-optic cables, a vast network of communications that underpins the internet and carries an estimated $10 trillion in daily financial transactions, according to Sky News.

READ MORE: Russian Navy to Maintain Balanced Presence in Mediterranean — Military Official

"We have to track what they're doing, we have to monitor what they're doing both on and below the surface, and we seek to do that," Admiral Jones remarked.

The move comes ahead of a NATO summit due in Brussels this week, as the alliance is facing mounting pressure from US President Donald Trump, who is repeatedly urging US allies to increase their defense spending.

NATO eFP battle group soldiers wait for NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg visit in Tapa military base, Estonia September 6, 2017 - Sputnik International
UK Cabinet Encourages NATO Member States to Reach 2% Defense Spending Target

In early May, the US Navy also announced it would resurrect the Second Fleet to keep an eye on Russian and Chinese ships on the US East Coast and North Atlantic, citing "security environment concerns."

The Northern Atlantic has seen a series of UK-Russia standoffs in recent years. In the latest encounter in January, the frigate HMS Westminster was tasked with keeping track of four Russian naval ships sailing through the English Channel.

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