The Russian guided missile destroyer Severomorsk has been sailing in international waters just north of RAF Lossiemouth for around one week.
The vessel, staying outside British territorial waters, is accompanied by the tanker ‘Sergei Osipov’.
Readers should understand that the vessel is in international waters and is doing nothing illegal or inappropriate, in fact, most navies (including the Royal Navy) perform these kind of actions with their ships.
In addition to submarines and small vessels, it is understood that there are two Royal Navy frigates in Scottish waters, one of them currently operating near the Clyde. Additionally, it should be noted the Royal Navy do not comment on submarine operations.
More notable is that RAF Lossiemouth is home to the UK Maritime Patrol Aircraft fleet, currently four P-8A Poseidon aircraft, and the Quick Reaction Alert Typhoon jets for the northern half of the UK.
A military source at RAF Lossiemouth has told the UK Defence Journal “be under no doubt that the Russian vessel is being watched 24/7”.
The UK and US also sail vessels close to Russia. Earlier in the year, American destroyers and a British frigate were in the Barents Sea following seven days of Arctic operations. The surface action group comprised of Arleigh Burke class destroyers USS Donald Cook, USS Porter, USS Roosevelt, fast combat support ship USNS Supply and the Royal Navy’s HMS Kent entered the Barents Sea in May to conduct training and operations in the challenging conditions of the Arctic region.
Many will have noticed the tanker ‘Sergei Osipov’ in the Moray Firth, well, the press team for the Russian Northern Fleet have confirmed she is sailing in company with the Severomorsk.
According to a Russian Northern Fleet announcement:
“The large antisubmarine ship of the Northern Fleet Severomorsk and the large sea tanker Sergey Osipov left the Moray Firth Bay of the North Sea and headed for the Barents Sea. The detachment completed the assigned tasks in the North Atlantic and proceeded to move to the main basing point.”
It is understood that the vessels conducted an anti-sabotage defence exercise and worked conducted replenishment of fuel and fresh water from a tanker.
The Russian Northern Fleet say that Severomorsk together with the tanker Sergei Osipov operated in the North Atlantic after participating in the “ninth cruise of the Arctic group of the Northern Fleet”.
Since the start of the cruise, the ship has covered about 11 thousand nautical miles, they add. The Destroyer will now be moving to the coast of Norway to conduct submarine hunting and air defence exercises say the Russian military.