London/Moscow: UK’s Royal Navy has informed that a staggering nine Russian warships were sailing near its territorial waters. It is the first instance of Russian warships sailing in the region in such numbers in just two weeks. Two months ago, the NATO chief had warned that Russia was making a show of military strength outside its sphere of influence and was in the process of initiating a new Cold War.
In the past few years, relations between the UK and Russia have been tensed with frictions frequently occurring between them. The UK adopted an aggressive stance against Russia after it invaded and took over Crimea in 2014. The then British Prime Minister David Cameron ended military cooperation with Russia and announced sanctions against it. There have been claims of Russian interference in the Scottish and Brexit referendums held in the UK.
In 2018, an assassination attempt was made on a former Russian official and his daughter, living in the UK. Relations between the two nations grew severely tense after a Russian hand was revealed in the case. The UK expelled 23 Russian diplomats, in retaliation to which, Russia ordered British diplomats out of the country. Later, the UK was revealed to have planned a massive cyberattack on Russia as part of likely action against it. The UK media had alleged that Russia simultaneously had prepared for launching nuclear attacks on 40 cities and military bases.
During this time, the Russia-NATO ties were also straining further. To pressurise NATO member nations, Russia began making incursions in European waters with its warships, submarines and fighter jets. Western analysts consistently highlighted that rather than the warships and planes, which Russia had sent to the region, the extent and intensity of the incursions had increased. Also, the rise in Russian movements near UK boundaries only made evident its pressure tactics continue still.
According to the UK’s Royal Navy, 9 Russian warships and submarines were identified near its territorial waters. They included Russian destroyer Admiral Kulakov and Boikiy, submarines Stary Oskol and patrol vessel Vasily Bykov and sports ships. The names of other Russian vessels have not been declared. Furthermore, the UK said it had spotted Russian warships, near the North Sea, Celtic Sea, Strait of Dover as also the English Channel near the UK. The UK also said it was keeping a close watch on all the Russian vessels right until they step out of their territorial waters.
Given the rising activity of Russian warships, UK Naval chief First Sea Lord Admiral Tony Radakin has asserted the UK Royal Navy is prepared to counter any threat.