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  1. ITV Report

Royal Navy keeps close eye on Russian warships in English Channel

Type 45 destroyer HMS Diamond shadowing two Russian warships, destroyer Severomorsk and cruiser Marshal Ustinov. Credit: PA

A Royal Navy warship has shadowed two Russian warships as they passed through the English Channel for the second time this summer.

Type 45 destroyer HMS Diamond sailed from Dover, Kent, to monitor the Russian destroyer Severomorsk and cruiser Marshal Ustinov on Tuesday as they passed near the UK’s territorial waters.

Commander Ben Keith, the commanding officer of the Portsmouth-based ship, said: "HMS Diamond is proud to once again be playing her part in protecting the UK by monitoring these vessels on their transit.

Type 45 destroyer HMS Diamond at work in the English Channel. Credit: PA

"This is routine business for the Royal Navy and the second time my ship’s company have undertaken such an escort duty this summer.

"While many families are enjoying their summer holidays, my ship’s company are working hard at sea to keep Britain safe.

"I would like to thank the families of my crew whose support is vital while we carry out our duty to the nation."

A navy spokesman said: "The Udaloy-class destroyer Severomorsk and Slava-class cruiser have finished taking part in the Russian Navy Days event in the Baltic port of St Petersburg and are now deploying out of the area.

A Russian Blackjack Tupolev Tu-160 Credit: PA

"Overnight HMS Diamond has maintained watch in UK waters, monitoring the Russian warships as they approach the UK coast.

"As the ships entered the busy shipping lanes between Norfolk and continental Europe, Diamond manoeuvred into formation alongside them and made them aware of her presence.

"The ships were then escorted towards the Dover strait, one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world.

"HMS Diamond continues to monitor the ships, remaining with them as they transit past Dover and along the south coast of England, after which they are expected to continue south, exiting the UK area of interest."

The Royal Navy's HMS Sutherland that previously escorted the Russian ships away from UK waters. Credit: PA

The RAF is also involved in monitoring Russian activity - in January, two Russian Blackjack bombers were intercepted by the RAF over the North Sea.

After HMS St Albans escorted Admiral Gorshkov through the North Sea on Christmas Day last year, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said he would "not hesitate in defending our waters or tolerate any form of aggression."

He said: "Britain will never be intimidated when it comes to protecting our country, our people, and our national interests."