A former First Sea Lord has criticised plans to send a survey vessel to visit Ukraine in the wake of news that HMS Duncan was ‘swarmed’ by 17 Russian jets.
The Defence Secretary recently announced that HMS Echo would deploy to the Black Sea in 2019 to demonstrate the UK’s support to ensuring freedom of navigation in the region.
It was also confirmed that, in January and February next year, training teams – made up of personnel from the Royal Navy, Royal Marines and the Army – will deploy to Ukraine as part of the extension to the UK’s military training operation announced by Williamson on his visit to the country in September.
Lord West of Spithead, a former First Sea Lord, said:
“My Lords, the noble Baroness will be aware that it has been stated that we are sending a warship to the Black Sea but, as I understand it, it is in fact a survey ship.
If things are hotting up in the Black Sea, to send a ship into harm’s way that is not capable of looking after itself is not a clever idea. Should it be reviewed? Perhaps we should send a ship such as a 45, which is able to look after itself in these circumstances.”
Baroness Goldie responded:
“I am very reluctant to comment on specific operational matters for reasons that your Lordships will understand. The MoD response to such situations is carefully assessed and reviewed; any decision to deploy our ships would be made after only the most careful assessment of all the circumstances.”
It was reported yesterday that a Royal Navy Destroyer was swarmed by 17 Russian jets in Black Sea earlier this year.
Footage from a documentary showed the moment HMS Duncan was swarmed by 17 Russian jets as she led a NATO fleet through the Black Sea earlier this year.
The footage formed part of a four-part Channel 5 documentary called Warship: Life at Sea. This documentary premiered on the 26th of November at 9pm (GMT) on Channel 5, more information on the documentary can be found here.
For those wanting a quick peak, excerpts of the footage can be found here.
First reported by The News, Portsmouth, the action is understood to have taken place 30 miles off the coast of Crimea and is the closest any British Royal Navy warship has come since Russia annexed the peninsula in 2014.
Commodore Mike Utley, who was leading the NATO task force from Duncan earlier this year, was reported as saying:
“HMS Duncan is probably the only maritime asset that has seen a raid of that magnitude in the last 25 years.”
HMS Duncan, a Type 45 Destroyer, can hold 48 missiles.