Type 23 Frigate HMS Westminster has sailed today to escort Russian vessels through the English Channel.

The Type 23 Frigates form the core of the Royal Navy’s fleet and serve alongside the Type 45 destroyers.

Originally designed for anti-submarine warfare in the North Atlantic, the Royal Navy’s Type 23 frigates have proven their versatility in warfighting, peace-keeping and maritime security operations. Thirteen Type 23 frigates remain in service with the Royal Navy, with three vessels having been sold to Chile and handed over to the Chilean Navy.

This comes not long after HMS St Albans escorted a Russian warship through the North Sea and areas of UK interest on Christmas Day. The Portsmouth-based Type 23 frigate was called upon to sail on 23 December and keep watch on the new Russian warship Admiral Gorshkov as it passed close to UK territorial waters.

HMS St Albans remained at sea on Christmas Day to monitor the Russian frigate, keeping track of its activity in areas of national interest.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:

“I 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.”

The festive season has seen an upsurge in Russian units transiting UK waters. HMS Tyne was also called to escort a different vessel, a Russian intelligence-gathering ship, through the North Sea and the English Channel on Christmas Eve. A Wildcat helicopter from 815 Naval Air Squadron, based at RNAS Yeovilton, was then dispatched to monitor two further Russian vessels.


  1. Apart from sabre rattling what are the bloody Russians upto? Why so many ship movements through the channel?
    we should send a squadron to sail up by Murmansk and see how they like it.

  2. Admiral Gorshkov is a very modern frigate armed with supersonic anti-ship missiles and cruise missiles for land attack, amongst other things.

  3. I don’t get the anti Russian hysteria. And I also do not get the defence secretaries rhetoric.

    If Russians reacted like posters here we’d have a war on our hands given how much NATO assets snoop around their borders.

    If ships of their northern fleet want to deploy anywhere they need to go through GIUK gap and down past the UK purely as an accident of geography.

    As for us sending ships to Murmansk area. One we probably do, in the form of SSNs, and two the RN will not be deploying to the Med, Gulf or Indian Ocean via that route!

    Fuss over nothing.

  4. I know that several posters have it in their mind that I post from within the Kremlin and I am very happy to play along with that but I fail to understand why warships from other nations need to be escorted through shipping lanes such as la Manche. One newspaper, I use the term loosely, has reported this as an ‘intercept’ so adding drama. Other countries border the Channel. Do they go into a blind panic like this? And what is the cost of sending out a rickety old frigate to conduct this escort? Finally, what is the point?


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