The HMS Forth shadowed the advanced Russian patrol ship Vasily Bykov as it was passing through the English Channel, the Royal Navy reported on Wednesday.
“Forth had departed Gibraltar on July 31, before heading north at speed and conducting heavy weather trials before a quick logistics stop in Devonport. She then sailed and positioned herself ready to meet the Vasily Bykov as the vessel sailed from the North Sea, having taken part in Russia's Navy Day celebration in St. Petersburg,” the Navy said in a statement.
The Navy also quoted HMS Forth’s Executive Officer, Lieutenant Samuel Fields as saying that the crew continues to test the ship’s capabilities and that he is proud of “the ship’s company for rising to this additional challenge”. The Russian Defence Ministry has yet to comment on the matter.
The Wednesday shadowing comes after HMS Forth escorted the Vasily Bykov in late June, when the Russian warship sailed through the English Channel en route to St. Petersburg to take part in the Russian Navy Day parade.
The Russian Navy’s recently commissioned Vasily Bykov is equipped with the most advanced radio engineering and sonar systems, as well as naval guns, air defences and grenade launchers.
In May, the UK Royal Navy’s HMS Northumberland escorted the Russian missile destroyer Severomorsk as it passed through the English Channel on its way from the Atlantic Ocean.
This was preceded a UK Royal Navy warship being scrambled earlier this year to shadow Russia's advanced Admiral Gorshkov frigate, which carried out air defence drills off the coast of Scotland in the North Sea while en route to the Atlantic.
The Russian Defence Ministry has repeatedly emphasised that its warships sail through the English Channel in line with all international norms and regulations.