The Yorkshire Post says: On manoeuvres. Why was Russian warship in North Sea on Christmas Day?

THIS month's warnings from North Yorkshire MP Rishi Sunak about the vulnerability of indispensable internet infrastructure provided by undersea cables is made all the more pertinent by HMS St Albans, a Royal Navy frigate, being deployed to monitor the Russian Admiral Gorshkov as the warship navigated the North Sea.

Handout photo issued by the Ministry of Defence of Royal Navy frigate HMS St Albans escorting a Russian warship through the North Sea and areas of UK interest on Christmas Day.

Though unspecific, Ministry of Defence top brass were clearly alarmed that the ship was close to areas of national interest as Gavin Williamson, the Scarborough-born Defence Secretary, warned that “Britain will never be intimidated when it comes to protecting our country”.

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Russian warship escorted through North Sea on Christmas Day

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The key question, given the upsurge in Russian-registered ships passing through UK territorial waters, is why? Is it just a coincidence or part of a wider agenda ahead of President Vladimir Putin’s re-election next year which is one of the more certain political predictions of 2018?

Yet the fact that Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, Britain’s supposed top diplomat, ended up in a war of words with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov last week over Moscow’s meddling in the West’s elections does not bode well for future relations.

It’s all the more reason, given Britain’s dependence on the internet, for Mr Sunak’s warning to be heeded.