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British destroyer shadowing Russian naval task group in English coast: UK government

British frigate HMS Argyle (front), Japanese destroyer Inazuma (C) and Japanese helicopter carrier Kaga take part in a joint naval drill in the Indian Ocean. Photograph:( Reuters )

Reuters London, UK Mar 07, 2019, 07.10 AM (IST)

A British destroyer is shadowing a Russian naval task group as it passes the English coast, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said on Wednesday.

HMS Defender was called upon to sail over the weekend and keep watch on the frigate Admiral Gorshkov and three auxiliary ships as they neared UK territorial waters off Scotland.

It will continue to escort the Russian group this week as it passes through the English Channel, the ministry said.

"We will continue to work with our allies to shadow Russian ships passing through international waters close to our shores, to ensure the Russian navy follows the correct protocol on its journey," Armed Forces minister Mark Lancaster added in a statement.

Royal Navy ships routinely shadow Russian warships through the English Channel. Last May, Royal Navy head, First Sea Lord Admiral Philip Jones, said in a speech that Britain was facing "significantly emboldened Russian naval activity, which is continually testing our resolve".