A Russian frigate sailed through the English Channel after a stop off the Scottish coast, where it was shadowed by a UK warship and closely watched by local media that fanned fears about a “hallucination-inducing device” on board.
‘Admiral Gorshkov’ and three auxiliary vessels has successfully passed through the Channel and made it to the Atlantic Ocean, according to Russian Navy’s Northern Fleet. This is the first long-term deployment of the newest warship, which was commissioned by the Russian Navy back in July last year.
Earlier this week, the four-ship naval task group had been spotted near the coast of Scotland en route to the Mediterranean. The Royal Navy scrambled its HMS ‘Defender’ to shadow the 4,500-ton guided missile frigate.
A navy spokesman told the Times that the ‘Defender,’ a Portsmouth-based Type 45 destroyer, was “monitoring the Russian task group and keeping track of their activity in areas of national interest.”
The reserved statement didn’t play well with Scottish politicians, however, who said they felt defenseless as a result of Russia’s maritime deployments. “The UK’s Ministry of Defence is failing Scotland, allowing Russian navy vessels sailing through our territorial waters at will to conduct provocative drills like this,” SNP Defence spokesperson Stewart McDonald argued.
All Royal Navy warships vessels are based on the Channel coast, and it takes too long for them to arrive in Scottish waters in the event of an emergency, he complained.
That aside, UK media tried to seize the opportunity to fan the “Russia scare.” The Times, for instance, said that at least one of the ‘Admiral Gorshkov’-class frigates is reported to have been fitted with the Filin 5P-42 weapon, a “visual optical interference” device.