Published: 11:02, 26 March 2020
| Updated: 11:40, 26 March 2020
The Royal Navy has been tracking a fleet of Russian warships following "unusually high levels of activity" off the Kent coast.
The group of seven vessels were also shadowed by the nine British ships and air support in the North Sea.
The Navy has described its response as a "large-scale operation", supported by military helicopters.
Type 23 frigates HMS Kent, HMS Sutherland, HMS Argyll and HMS Richmond joined Offshore Patrol Vessels HMS Tyne and HMS Mersey along with RFA Tideforce, RFA Tidespring and HMS Echo with support from NATO allies.
Lieutenant Nick Ward, HMS Tyne’s executive officer, said: “As the Armed Forces are helping the NHS save lives in the UK, it’s essential the Navy continues to deliver the tasks we have always performed to help keep Britain safe.
“This is very much part of routine business for HMS Tyne and represents one of the many roles our patrol vessels perform in support of the Royal Navy’s commitments.
“This is our core business and represents an enduring commitment to uphold the security of the UK.”
Radar, surveillance cameras and sensors were used to track the fleet's course and speed as it passed the British Isles.
Merlin and Wildcat helicopters supported the operation, hovering over the Russian ships to gather intelligence.
It coincided with HMS Kent's visit to Dover between Friday to Sunday, March 13 - 15 where groups were toured around the vessel
Portsmouth-based HMS Tyne spent more than a week working in the Channel keeping a close eye on the vessels as they pass the south coast.
Three Steregushchiy-class corvettes, two Ropucha-class landing ships and two Admiral Grigorovich-class frigates were observed during the operations, plus their supporting ships and tugs.
The incident lasted a week and concluded a week and a half ago.
More by this authorEd McConnell