12:50 GMT +319 September 2018
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    The British aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth is pulled from its berth by tugs before its maiden voyage, in Rosyth, Scotland, Britain June 26, 2017

    UK Navy Vows to Protect New Aircraft Carrier From "Frightening" Russians

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    The 71,650-ton Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier is the biggest warship ever to be built in Britain, and has been undergoing sea trials since setting sail from Scotland's Rosyth dockyard in June 2017.

    Commodore Andrew Betton, commander of the UK Carrier Strike Group, said that other Royal Navy warships in the task group will protect the Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier from the so-called "Russian threat" during the carrier's upcoming sea trials in the Atlantic Ocean.

    "Russian submarines are more active in the North Atlantic than they have been since the Cold War and we take that very seriously, the ship will be well protected as she makes her transit across the Atlantic," Betton was quoted by the UK news network ITV as saying.

    READ MORE: UK Intelligence Furious After Williamson's Remark About Russian Threat — Reports

    He added that the move is not aimed at confrontation because the task group is just heading to "the East Coast of the United States to conduct trials."

    Betton was echoed by Captain Jerry Kyd, the carrier’s commanding officer, who said that "the increase in Russian activity we have seen in the last couple of years is frightening and for national security reasons it just underlines why we need to maintain a balanced, strong and able, capable fleet."

    "It's been quite eye-watering, what we have seen in the last couple of years," Kyd said, pledging "to operate professionally and within the standard laws of the high seas, operating in international waters going about our business."

    READ MORE: UK Exploits Alleged Russian Threat to Boost Defense Budget — Russian Embassy

    The two commanders' remarks came as the Queen Elizabeth prepares to leave Portsmouth Naval Base to cross the Atlantic for its mission, to conduct flight trials and arrive at New York.

    The Russian embassy in London has, meanwhile, stated that the remarks are in line with "common tendency of replicating all sorts of false information in the context of the anti-Russian campaign being promoted here."

    "However, there are no real grounds for Britons to intimidate the public [on the matter]. In general, those who are familiar with the British information space are well aware of its rules of the game: when it is necessary to distribute another information provocation, several media outlets are often used simultaneously. And all this comes despite declarations of independent editorial policy of each and every media resource," the embassy emphasized.

    In late May, UK Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson accused Moscow of aggressive moves, using the alleged "Russian threat" pretext as an argument to urge the UK government to increase funding for the Royal Navy's modernization.

    READ MORE: UK May Use Cyber Threat Allegations to Endorse Anti-Russian Attack — Moscow

    He alleged that Russia's submarine activity has increased ten-fold in the North Atlantic and that the Royal Navy ostensibly responded 33 times to Russian Navy ships approaching UK territorial waters.

    The Russian Defense Ministry, for its part, pointed out that Russia's naval activity in the area is fully in line with international norms.

    In February, Williamson, who is known for his anti-Russian statements, underlined the need to modernize the UK's air forces, explaining it by the need to counter threats allegedly coming from Russia.

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    Tags:
    sea trials, task force, activity, submarines, threat, HMS Queen Elizabeth, Britain, Russia
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