Frigate HMS Westminster and patrol ship HMS Tyne monitored the passage of the Russian Destroyer Vice Admiral Kulakov as it passed south through the English Channel.

According to the Royal Navy in a statement, “Royal Navy sailors and aircrew monitored every movement of the Russian warship using state-of-the-art radar, surveillance cameras and sensors, allowing them to track the ship’s course and speed as it passed the British Isles”.

Commander Will Paston, the Commanding Officer of HMS Westminster, said:

“The Royal Navy routinely monitors the passage of warships through the UK’s area of interest as part of its ongoing mission to support the defence of the UK. The Vice Admiral Kulakov conducted itself in a safe and professional manner throughout its transit.”

Minister for the Armed Forces, James Heapey, was quoted as saying:

“Once again the Royal Navy has proven its ability to maintain the sovereignty of the United Kingdom territorial waters. I am hugely impressed by the professional way the sailors of HMS Westminster and Tyne have responded.”

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I appreciate that it is highly unlikely anyone would fire heavy anti-ship missiles in the Channel but wouldn’t it be a good idea to at least have them on board as a show of force?

In terms of actually engaging, again very unlikely, I assume the 4.5 inch gun would be the only choice.

Steve R

How do you know they didnt? They still carry Harpoons in quad canister launchers. I don’t know if these particular frigates did, but they may have.

To be honest, all you need to take down the Russian ship is one guy in a helicopter with a GPMG; just spray the tug and the ship is dead in the water!


The photo above, the Harpoon racks are there but they aren’t fitted with the launcher. I am assuming that is a photo of the actual encounter of course. You can see the rack just behind the Sea Ceptor silo, just below the bridge.

Steve R

Ah, I just assumed it was a stock photo.


I am afraid this is the standard response to Russian ships in the channel. In reality the race would be between the french and British air forces to see who sinks it first.


So we’ll be leaving that to the French then. The RAF has no anti-ship missiles.

John Walker

I think the submariners of several navy’s would beg to differ…Besides the Russian’s are just exercising their legal right of passage. The same when we venture into the Black Sea and when the American’s go though the South China Sea.

Daniele Mandelli

Exactly. Though I’m not sure sitting south of Crimea is right of passage as poking the bears nose. Need to refer to a map.


Wasn’t really my point. The RN is clearly instructed to monitor Russian ships as they pad through the Channel, partially as a show of force. So why not make that show count with teeth? We aren’t going to start a shooting war but why look weak to the Russians when all they understand is strength?

Also, do our subs operate in the Channel? I doubt they go any further than Devonport.


‘why look weak to the Russians when all they understand is strength?’ I see th same comments in Russian sites like this about the US/UK. Such a pity we can’t move past this mentality


Ulya, personally I don’t see why we bother escorting Russian ships through the Channel at all. What do we think they will do exactly? My point was just that the RN seem to think they need to for a show of strength, yet they don’t look particularly strong doing so with limited weapons.


Admiral Kulakov is 39 years old & HMS Westminster 29. Just needs someone to call out the bingo numbers…


Not to be confused with the 200 year old HMS Winchester 60 gun ship that the Express reported was escorting a Chinese warship through the Channel last year. They have corrected the article now but if you “Google” HMS Winchester the title of the report still comes up. Makes me chuckle just how bad journalism can be.


Westminster load we with sea captor


Does the T23s still carry torps?

Paul T

Yes has Tubes For Sting Ray Torpedo’s,assuming they are always carried.


To be honest I not surprised. Recruitment into the Armed Forces almost always improves when times are bad and the miliatry resumed training sometime ago – including, I think, for new recruits.


I also meant to say that the Royal Navy’s new carriers have ensured a lot of exciting coverage for the navy – free and very positive publicity.


I am sure the Captains exchange pleasantries


Hi Geoff,

Yeh, expect the, “The Vice Admiral Kulakov conducted itself in a safe and professional manner throughout its transit”, translates as, “Jolly decent types really, even exchanged pleasantries and waved to us!” 🙂

Cheers CR


🙂 🙂 Indeed CR. What fascinates me is some of the many stories of friendly and compassionate exchanges between foes in wartime and even in battle conditions. one that comes to mind is an allied fighter escorting a badly shot up Lutwaffe bomber to safety


Hi geoff,

Yeh, I’ve heard similar stories of brief moments of humanity in amongst the horrors of war. I believe the Red Barron or/and some other fighter pilots in single combat scenarios during WW1 let their adversary of the hook when the adversary’s guns jammed…

Cheers CR

Harry Bulpit

Wouldn’t this be more cheaply done by the likes of a RAF R7 shadow or even a RN Training King Air?. Thers Obviously no threat of a ingagment and even if there was a single Frigate in the channel wouldn’t be very effective.

Daniele Mandelli

Maybe there’s some interesting stuff aboard the RN vessels.

Harry Bulpit

Quite possibly.