Russian Military Ship Spotted in Britain: ‘We Will Not Hesitate in Defending Our Waters,’ U.K. Defense Secretary Says

Britain spotted a Russian military ship making its way through its waters and deployed a Royal Navy destroyer to trail it earlier this week.

The Russian underwater reconnaissance ship Yantar neared Britain’s coast on Wednesday, prompting the country to dispatch its destroyer HMS Diamond and a Wildcat helicopter to follow the foreign vessel, The Independent reported on Friday.

“We will not hesitate in defending our waters or tolerate any form of aggression,” British defense secretary Gavin Williamson told the media outlet. “Britain will never be intimidated when it comes to protecting our country, our people, and our national interests.”

The Russian ship holds two submersible vehicles that are not manned and can take images from the ocean floor as well as collect objects.

British Commander Ben Keith, who is in charge of HMS Diamond, told The Independent that the destroyer “is proud to be doing her part to protect the U.K. area of interest by monitoring the Russian vessel Yantar on her transit.”

Keith called it “routine business” for the Royal Navy and said they are prepared to do such escorting on short notice.

Rising tensions between Russian and western nations have led to more instances of Russian naval ships crossing into the English Channel. In 2010, the Royal Navy encountered only one Russian ship, but last year, the navy intercepted Russian ships 33 times, Williamson said last month. He characterized it as a “new age of warfare.”

“Look at Russia’s resurgence under President (Vladimir) Putin,” Williamson said. “It goes to show the increasing aggression, increasing assertiveness of Russia and how we have to ensure we give the right support to our Royal Navy.”

More Russian ships may be passing through the English Channel to reach the Mediterranean, due to Russia’s role in the Syrian conflict.