Royal Navy destroyer checks on Russian fleet in Channel

The Royal Navy has confirmed that it tracked a Russian aircraft carrier and a nuclear-powered battle cruiser that passed through the English Channel last night.

The seven-strong Russian naval task group was led by the Admiral Kuznetsov - the nation's largest warship.

Although the ships did not enter UK territorial waters, their movements were tracked by the Royal Navy destroyer HMS Dragon - the duty fleet-ready escort vessel that was dispatched from Portsmouth to investigate.

HMS Dragon was sent to investigate the Russian fleet. Credit: Chris Ison/PA Wire

The ships are believed to have been returning to the Baltic after manoeuvres in the Mediterranean.

It is not unusual for Russian warships to pass through the Channel - the same group went through in the opposite direction in December, when HMS Dragon was also sent to investigate.

A Royal Navy spokesman said: "We can confirm that HMS Dragon was activated as the fleet-ready escort vessel. She met the task group centred around the Admiral Kuznetsov."

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Russian aircraft carrier 'enters' English Channel

A Russian aircraft carrier and a missile-carrying nuclear cruiser have entered the English Channel, Russia's Interfax news agency has reported.