World War III Update: Royal Navy goes on red alert as Russian warships approach Britain’s coast

By @vitthernandez on
Admiral Kuznetsov
A photo taken from a Norwegian surveillance aircraft shows Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov in international waters off the coast of Northern Norway on October 17, 2016. 333 Squadron, Norwegian Royal Airforce/NTB Scanpix/Handout via Reuters

The Royal Navy went on a red alert upon finding out that Russian warships are planning to sail along the British coast on its way to Syria. Among the Russian warships photographed sailing off Ramsgate, Kent, were the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov and the Kirov class battlecruiser Peter the Great.

The deployment of the Russian warships adds to the escalating tension between Russia and the west and creating speculations of World War III. The Royal Navy would deploy HMS Duncan and HMS Richmond to escort the foreign vessels past Britain, The Times reports.

Sir Michael Fallon, British Defence Secretary, assures Britons the Royal Navy ships would mark the Russian fleet “every inch of the way” which would be a test of British capabilities. To escort Admiral Kuznetsov, HMS Duncan, a Type 45 destroyer, sailed on Tuesday from Portsmouth, and the HMS Richmond, a Type 23 frigate, escorted the Russian warships while steaming south from the Norwegian Sea, The Telegraph reports.

Peter the Great The Russian nuclear-powered cruiser Pyotr Veliky or "Peter the Great" is seen at the port of La Guaira outside Caracas November 27, 2008.  Reuters/Jorge Silva

On Thursday, British Prime Minister Theresa May, upon her arrival in Brussels to attend a summit, criticised Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aggression in Syria. She says Moscow is behind the “sickening atrocities” in Syria to support the regime of Bashar Assad.

In spite of Syrian forces, backed by Russian air power, agreeing to a temporary humanitarian ceasefire in Aleppo, the British PM called on European leaders to take a hard stand against Moscow’s aggression. NATO finds the deployment of the Russian warships to the Middle East not inspiring confidence that Russia is in search of a political solution to the crisis in Syria.

To defend the deployment of the Russian aircraft carrier, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said in September that the Northern Fleet, led by Admiral Kuznetsov, aims to boost the combat capabilities of the Mediterranean fleet.

Besides the two Royal Navy vessels, other NATO members are also expected to track the progress of the Russian fleet along Scandinavia past the UK and into the Mediterranean. Also on standby are British fighter jets.