Royal Navy deploys warship as Russia sends Armada to ‘disrupt coronation weekend’

4 May 2023, 21:23

The Admiral Grigorovich is one of the warships believed to be apart of the flotilla.
The Admiral Grigorovich is one of the warships believed to be apart of the flotilla. Picture: Alamy

By Jenny Medlicott

The Royal Navy has sent a warship to follow a Russian fleet of ships lurking near the UK ahead of the Coronation this weekend.

Five Russian warships and two support vessels appeared in waters off the UK today, as it is thought they are trying to put on a show off force before King Charles’s coronation.

They are all equipped with Kalibr cruise missiles, which is a Russian land attack cruise missile that has a range of up to 1,500 miles.

The ships, which are equipped to carry nuclear weapons, are to be tailed by the Type 23 frigate across the North Sea.

A UK defence source told the Sun: "We are aware of a small number of Russian vessels which are exercising around the UK and are monitoring the situation closely."

A Royal Navy Type 23 frigate was scrambled to shadow the Russian armada
A Royal Navy Type 23 frigate was scrambled to shadow the Russian armada. Picture: Royal Navy

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Royal Navy chiefs have now deployed a Type 23 frigate armed with harpoon anti-ship missiles to tail the Russian vessels.

The warships converged in the North Sea from their various bases in a deliberate show of force, a source told the paper.

The source also said the fleet was deliberately timed to coincide with the coronation on Saturday.

As a record number of world leaders arrive to attend Saturday’s coronation, the RAF has swiftly scrambled Poseidon P-8 maritime patrol aircraft to track the ships, alongside Norwegian and US allies.

The Russian destroyer Vice Admiral Kulakov pictured sailing towards the North Sea yesterday
The Russian destroyer Vice Admiral Kulakov pictured sailing towards the North Sea yesterday. Picture: Norwegian Armed Forces

Naval expert H.I. Sutton said the Russian flotilla includes a frigate from the Black Sea Fleet, as it has been stopped from returning to its base in Crimea because of the war, with Turkey closing the Bosphorus to warships.

The Russian fleet includes: the frigate the Admiral Grigorovich, the corvettes Sbrazitelnyy, Stoikiy and Oindtsovo, and the tug Grebelsky and tanker Kama.

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Kalibr missiles can carry 1,100lbs of conventional explosives, according to the Centre for Strategic and International Studies ‘Missile Threat’ database.

The Russian support tanker Kama sailing to join the flotilla
The Russian support tanker Kama sailing to join the flotilla. Picture: Norwegian Armed Forces

The missiles have previously been used in Syria by the Russians, and more recently in Ukraine.

Earlier this year, Royal Navy warships also had to intercept a Russian vessel carrying Putin’s “unstoppable” 7,000 mph hypersonic missiles. They tracked the frigate Admiral Gorshkov across the North Sea, as it lurked close to the UK.

And more recently, RAF Typhoons were forced to intercept a Russian spy plane flying close to UK airspace.

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