NATO Allied Maritime Command are “closely monitoring” the Russian frigate Admiral Gorshkov which is armed “unstoppable” Zircon hypersonic missiles is sailing past the Dover Strait on Thursday.
The Dover Strait is the narrowest part of the English Channel and the warship left Murmansk on 6 January and headed to the Norwegian Sea where they conducted an “air defence exercise.”
The Russian Defence Ministry said, “The crew of the frigate ‘Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Gorshkov’ conducted an air defense exercise in the Norwegian Sea.
“The crew… conducted an exercise to repel the means of an air attack of a simulated enemy in the Norwegian Sea.”
The Royal Navy’s HMS Portland is “tracking the Russian guided missile frigate Admiral Gorshkov and accompanying tanker Kama as they sail in international waters close to the UK,” as it is carrying one of the world’s deadliest weapons.
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It is feared that the Russian warship is armed with nuclear capable Zircon hypersonic missiles which have a range of more than 600 miles which can travel at 7,000 mph.
Commander Ed Moss-Ward, HMS Portland’s commanding officer, said, “Escorting warships in UK territorial waters and the adjacent sea areas is routine activity for the Royal Navy.
Royal Navy warship @HMSPortland is tracking Russian guided missile frigate Admiral Gorshkov and accompanying tanker Kama as they sail in international waters close to the UK.
— Royal Navy (@RoyalNavy) January 11, 2023
“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.”
Vladimir Putin said on 4 January as the Admiral Gorshkov set sail from the Severomorsk port, “Today we have an important, if not landmark, event: the frigate Admiral Gorshkov is departing for a long-distance naval mission.
“There is nothing unusual here, this is common practice; but this time the ship is equipped with the cutting-edge Zircon hypersonic missile system, which has no analogue.
“I know that such powerful weapons will make it possible to reliably defend Russia from potential external threats and will help ensure our national interests.”
Maintaining maritime situational awareness is a core task for #NATO Standing Maritime Groups, in close coordination with Allies. 🇷🇺 Russian frigate Admiral Gorshkov is closely monitored by #SNMG1 ship 🇬🇧HMS Portland in the North Sea on Jan. 9 #DeterandDefend #StrongerTogether pic.twitter.com/6DN7EmL7EO
— NATO Maritime Command (@NATO_MARCOM) January 11, 2023
The Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said in a warning to the West and NATO, “This ship, armed with ‘Zircons’, is capable of delivering pinpoint and powerful strikes against the enemy at sea and on land.”
The Russian Defence Ministry’s own channel, TV Zvezda said, “The speed of the Zircon hypersonic missile is so high that it prevents the opponent’s air defence system from detecting its impact in time.
“In fact, its launch will be known only after the target has been hit.”