Russian frigate carrying 'unstoppable' missiles passes Dover

Russian frigate carrying ‘unstoppable’ hypersonic missiles passes Dover and leaves British waters after being shadowed by Royal Navy in North Sea

  • Moscow confirmed frigate Admiral Gorshkov passed through English Channel
  • Royal Navy said Wednesday warship was being tracked by HMS Portland
  • Gorshkov – which is carrying nuclear-capable 6,670mph Zircon missiles – will continue on to ‘missions’ in Atlantic, Mediterranean Sea and Indian Ocean

A Russian frigate carrying ‘unstoppable’ hypersonic missiles passed Dover today before leaving British waters after being shadowed by the Royal Navy.

Moscow confirmed the Admiral Gorshkov had passed the narrowest point of the English Channel – the Strait of Dover – sailing south out towards the Atlantic.

‘The frigate will soon continue to accomplish its missions in designated parts of the Atlantic,’ Moscow’s defence ministry said in a statement.

The Royal Navy released a statement Wednesday saying HMS Portland was tracking the Russian warship and its accompanying tanker Kama as the pair sailed into the North Sea, after the Gorshkov conducted war games in the Norwegian Sea.

 The Royal Navy released a statement Wednesday saying HMS Portland (left) was tracking the Russian warship (centre) and its accompanying tanker Kama (right) as they sailed into the North Sea, after the Gorshkov conducted war games in the Norwegian Sea

Moscow confirmed its frigate Admiral Gorshkov had passed the narrowest point of the English Channel – the Strait of Dover – sailing south out towards the Atlantic 

Vladimir Putin personally took part in the farewell ceremony when the warship departed from Arctic naval base Severomorsk on a voyage that will also take in the Mediterranean Sea and Indian Ocean.

When it departed the Russian president boasted that the West could not match his ‘latest-generation’ hypersonic firepower.

‘It has no equivalent in any country in the world,’ he said. ‘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.’

The Gorshkov is for the first time carrying deadly nuclear-capable 6,670mph Zircon – or Tsirkon – missiles with a 625 mile range in a significant challenge to the West, as well as Kalibr missiles. Earlier the guided missile frigate staged war games in the Norwegian Sea ‘repelling a simulated enemy’s air strikes’.

As the warship sailed towards Britain, footage released on Tuesday showed the capabilities of the vessel when it took part in a series of military exercises. 

 Russia warned the West of its warship’s capabilities by releasing chilling new footage showing the launch of its ‘unstoppable’ nuclear-capable Zircon missile, from a launch in May (pictured)

Pictured: Launch of an ‘unstoppable’ Zircon nuclear-capable hypersonic missile from the Admiral Gorshkov

Following Wednesday’s announcement, the Navy released images of HMS Portland tracking the Russian vessels in the North Sea on Monday, meaning that the operation has been underway for several days already.

Norwegian Coast Guard vessel Bergen was already tracking the Russian warship as it sailed south through the Norwegian Sea, the Navy said.

HMS Portland then joined the vessels as they entered the North Sea.

The Navy’s vessel is carrying a Merlin helicopter, both equipped with ‘cutting-edge sonars, sensors and torpedoes for specialist operations’, the Navy’s statement said.

In the statement, HMS Portland’s Commanding Officer Commander Ed Moss-Ward said: ‘Escorting warships in UK territorial waters and the adjacent sea areas is routine activity for the Royal Navy.’

Royal Navy Type 23 frigate HMS Portland monitored the Russian warship and accompanying tanker Kama as they sailed close to the UK.

Pictured: The Russian frigate ‘Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Gorshkov’ armed with Zircon hypersonic weapons leaves the naval base in Severomorsk, January 4, 2023

Pictured: Footage released by Russia shows the warship Admiral Gorshkov, which is carrying one of the world’s deadliest weapons, ‘repelling a simulated enemy’s air strikes’ in stormy conditions six days into the mission to challenge the West

Moss-Ward was quoted as saying: ‘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.’

The Navy said that HMS Portland departed her home port at Plymouth on Saturday, January 7. 

Moscow has boasted that the Gorshkov is ‘the most dangerous enemy of surface ships in the world’s oceans’ now it is armed with the new hypersonic missile.

The frigate’s captain Igor Krokhmal has said previously: ‘No one will see the missile launch or its flight. They will only see when the missile hits the target.

‘A surface target, a coastal target. I don’t think there will be anything to counter this in the next few years.’

 

The chilling footage released Tuesday showed the extent of the warship’s capabilities and its missiles.

Commentary over the Zvezda TV launch video said: ‘The purpose of the exercise was to test the operation of the air defence circuit, its systems, air and electronic lighting systems, anti-aircraft fire systems, tactical camouflage electronic warfare systems and air defence circuit control systems.’

The tasks were ‘achieved’, said the channel. ‘The ship is ready to repel air attacks from different altitudes and directions.’ 

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