A Russian submarine was found lurking the English Channel as Royal Navy warships were launched to intercept, just two weeks after Russian warships – including the submarine destroyer, Vice Admiral Kulakov – were escorted through the Channel.
The missile-carrying Krasnodar sub was sailing from the Eastern Mediterranean with its ocean-going tug, Sergey Balk, in support.
The Russian ship that was built in the Soviet Union for the Soviet Navy in the 1980s, was intercepted by Royal Navy patrol ships, HMS Tyne and HMS Mersey. It comes hours after a report revealed Russia had made UK a top target and turned "London into Londongrad".
HMS Tyne, based in Portsmouth, picked up the sub at the south-western end of the English Channel after the French Navy tracked its journey through the Bay of Biscay.
After sailing the Channel to monitor the Russian sub, sister-ship HMS Mersey took over duties as the Russians headed through the Strait of Dover and into the North Sea on Monday.
It is the third time this year that Royal Navy warships had to shadow Russian vessels cruising the British waters, while RAF Typhoons have scrambled every other month to intercept bombers bound for UK airspace.
In March, the Navy scrambled four frigates as well as five patrol vessels to shadow seven Russian ships which were "acting suspiciously" at the entrance to the same Channel.
In February, the HMS Sutherland, a Type 23 frigate, escorted the Admiral Kulakov destroyer and three other vessels as they sailed up the Channel into the North Sea after a secret mission in the Mediterranean.
Analysts said Moscow had closed the "technology gap", and now had invented subs which were quieter and could dive deeper than before. The diesel-electric sub fired cruise missiles at terrorist targets in the ancient city of Palmyra in support of President Bashar Al Assad’s regime. It comes a day after a shock report revealed Russia targeted the UK with a campaign of hacking, disinformation and political meddling.
Successive British governments "took their eye off the ball" and "badly underestimated" the threat posed by Moscow, MPs found.
The last time the Krasnodar was spotted in British waters was in 2017, when she passed through the English Channel on her way to strike Isis targets in Syria.
Lieutenant Justin Shirtcliff, HMS Tyne’s Operations Officer, said: "Tyne responded in a coordinated effort with allies to shadow the Russian submarine and her escort while transiting the English Channel. He also added that the routine undertaking is an enduring task for the Royal Navy, in which Tyne and her sister ships of the Royal Navy’s Overseas Patrol Squadron play a key role.