Royal Navy Tracks Russian Frigate Through English Channel and N. Sea

HMS Portland (foreground) tracks the Russian frigate Admiral Kasatonov (Royal Navy)
HMS Portland (foreground) tracks the Russian frigate Admiral Kasatonov (Royal Navy)

Published Mar 15, 2023 3:09 PM by The Maritime Executive

This week, the Royal Navy frigate HMS Portland deployed from Plymouth to track the Russian frigate Admiral Kasatonov and her support tanker, Akademik Pashin. Portland met up with the Russian vessels as they transited north from the Bay of Biscay on Sunday morning, then sailed alongside them as they passed through the English Channel and headed towards the North Sea.

The Admiral Kasatonov, attached to Russia’s Northern Fleet, has been operating in the eastern Mediterranean since early 2022. Russia maintains a presence in the area in support of the ongoing invasion of Ukraine. Akademik Pashin arrived in the region later in the year.

The Russian vessels passed through the Strait of Gibraltar last week and NATO warships have escorted them throughout their journey.
Portland has been reporting on the movements of the Russian ships as they transit into the North Sea.

"The Royal Navy routinely responds to escort warships in our territorial waters and the adjacent sea areas to ensure compliance with maritime law and to deter malign activity," said CO Commander Ed Moss-Ward. "Escorting the Russian task group alongside allied partners demonstrates the commitment of the Royal Navy and the NATO alliance to maintaining maritime security which is crucial to our national interests."

The Russian Navy cannot currently transit through the Bosporus, as Turkey has closed it to military traffic, but it has been active in the Mediterranean. A NATO task force (including up to three aircraft carriers at a time) has operated in the region since the beginning of the invasion, and its operations have been monitored closely by Russian forces. The Russian Navy also recently dispatched a small task force to South Africa for joint exercises with China's PLA Navy.