British warship escorts Russian frigate near territorial waters | News | DW | 26.12.2017
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British warship escorts Russian frigate near territorial waters

The British defense ministry has warned of an "upsurge in Russian units transiting UK waters." British-Russian relations have deteriorated, with Boris Johnson accusing Moscow of attempting to "destabilize" Europe.

The HMS St. Albans (seen in the foreground has escorted several Russian warships, including the Admiral Kuznetsov

The HMS St. Albans (seen in the foreground" has escorted several Russian warships, including the Admiral Kuznetsov

A British warship escorted a Russian frigate on Christmas Day as it skirted British territorial waters, the UK's Defense Ministry said on Tuesday.

The UK's HMS St. Albans monitored the Russian warship Admiral Gorshkov in the North Sea, "keeping track of its activity in areas of national interest," the ministry said in a statement.

Read more: NATO chiefs warns of Russian submarine capability

On Sunday, HMS Tyne was deployed to track a "Russian intelligence-gathering ship." The defense ministry said it had observed an "upsurge in Russian units transiting UK waters."

Russia's latest maritime activity comes as relations between London and Moscow continue to deteriorate in the wake of Moscow's illegal annexation of the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine in 2014.

'Destabilize European states'

During an official visit to Moscow, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said London could not ignore Russia's interference in democratic processes across the globe alongside its involvement in a destabilizing conflict in eastern Ukraine.

"Our relations with Russia cannot be 'business as usual' whilst Russia continues to attempt to destabilize European states, including Ukraine," Johnson said.

British authorities have suggested that Russia may have meddled in the Brexit referendum, which witnessed a narrow majority vote in favor of a formal divorce from the EU.

Deteriorating relations

Relations began to deteriorate in 2006, when Russia refused to extradite a Russian security official suspected of involvement in the murder of Kremlin critic and former spy Alexander Litvinenko.

Is NATO doing enough to pressure Russia over Ukraine?

However, they took a turn for the worst in 2014, when Russia staged a military intervention and conducted an internationally condemned referendum that resulted in the illegal annexation of the Crimean Peninsula.

Last month, British Prime Minister Theresa May accused Russia of "threatening the international world order on which we all depend."

British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson told reporters in Moscow that there is abundant evidence of Russia's meddling in Western democratic processes

British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson told reporters in Moscow that there is "abundant evidence" of Russia's meddling in Western democratic processes

ls/rc (AFP, Reuters)

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