Russian military ship spotted miles from UK coast with cruise missiles

Marshal Ustinov: Up close with the Russian warship

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A Russian military ship armed with hypersonic missiles has sailed through the Strait of Dover, the narrowest part of the English Channel – only a few miles away from the English coast. The military ship activated its AIS tracker on Wednesday at 10am, making it visible on real-time marine traffic tracker. According to French newspaper La Voix du Nord, another Russian tanker appeared to be heading to the Atlantic Ocean, sailing along the Boulonnais coast on the Strait of Dover, 20 miles away from Great Britain.

While the oil tanker Kama turned on its AIS tracker, the frigate Admiral Gorchkov kept it off to stay under the radar. It remains unclear whether tanker Karma accidentally revealed its location.

Earlier this year, Vladimir Putin said the 135-meter-long frigate would sail for the Atlantic, the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea with the latest generation hypersonic cruise missiles on board.

The warship is feared to be loaded with 7,000mph hypersonic missiles with a range of over 600 miles.

The 210-sailor warship left the port of Murmansk in northwestern Russia on January 6 for the Lofoten Islands in the Norwegian Sea. The oil tanker Kama seems to have followed it, French media reported.

The NATO Allied Maritime Command is “closely monitoring” Russian frigate Admiral Gorshkov, it said in a tweet with a photo of the warship.

The Royal Navy said it is tracking the frigate and the tanker movements with an HMS Portland frigate, as it could carry what is considered to be one of the world’s deadliest weapons.

Commander Ed Moss-Ward, HMS Portland’s commanding officer, said: “Escorting warships in UK territorial waters and the adjacent sea areas is routine activity for the Royal Navy.

“By maintaining a visible and persistent presence, the Royal Navy ensures compliance with maritime law and deters malign activity to protect our nation’s interests.

“Escorting the Russian task group alongside forces from our NATO allies has demonstrated the UK’s commitment to the alliance and to maintaining maritime security.”

Putin praised the ship’s strength as it sailed off on its journey, saying: “The frigate Admiral Gorshkov is embarking on a long sea voyage.

“There is nothing unusual here: it is commonplace, but this time the ship is equipped with the latest hypersonic rocket system Zircon, which has no match.

“It is a hypersonic sea-based system – [and the vessel has other] latest-generation weapons.

“As I said, it has no equivalent in any country in the world.

“I am sure that such a powerful weapon will allow us to reliably protect Russia from potential external threats and help ensure our country’s national interests.”

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The same Russian warship has since conducted military drills in the Norwegian Sea, the Russian defence ministry announced.

It said: “The crew of the frigate ‘Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Gorshkov’ conducted an air defense exercise in the Norwegian Sea.

“The crew… conducted an exercise to repel the means of an air attack of a simulated enemy in the Norwegian Sea.”

Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev last week warned the United States that the hypersonic missiles would soon be close to NATO’s shores.

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