1. ITV Report

West Country naval forces escort Russian warship on Christmas Day

A Merlin helicopter from Culdrose-based 829 Naval Air Squadron helped monitor the Russian vessel. Credit: Royal Navy

Royal Navy forces from the West Country have helped escort a Russian warship through the North Sea and areas of UK interest on Christmas Day.

A Merlin helicopter from Culdrose-based 829 Naval Air Squadron supported HMS St Albans as it accompanied the Russian vessel.

Navy personnel monitored the Russian frigate, keeping track of its activity.

A Wildcat helicopter from 815 Naval Air Squadron, based at RNAS Yeovilton, was then dispatched to monitor two further Russian vessels.

The Royal Navy forces accompanied the Russian warship Admiral Vladimirsky. Credit: Royal Navy

The festive season has seen an increase in Russian units transiting UK waters.

A total of 1,540 men and women are deployed worldwide, with a further 2,485 on standby for any defence or civil task that may emerge over the festive period.

RNAS Yeovilton's wildcat helicopter flew over Russian vessel Akademik Alexsandr Karpinsky. Credit: Royal Navy

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson says he "will not hesitate in defending our waters or tolerate any form of aggression".

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

– Gavin Williamson, Defence Secretary