Russian ships monitored in the English Channel

A Russian destroyer and two other ships are being “monitored” through the English Channel.

Russian Pacific Navy ships sail near the Sakhalin Island during military exercises in 2013.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said the Udaloy class destroyer Severomorsk, a tanker and a support ship passed through the waters while returning from the Mediterranean.

They are being monitored by HMS Argyll and are due to leave later.

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The MoD said no exercises were seen. Earlier reports had suggested the vessels were set to carry out military drills.

It follows similar incidents in recent months and comes amid strained relations between Moscow and the international community over the crisis in Ukraine.

In November the Royal Navy monitored a squadron of Russian warships as they moved through the Strait of Dover after carrying out exercises in the North Sea.

Then in February a Russian warship was tracked as it passed through the English Channel.

On that occasion Yaroslav Mudry and its accompanying tanker, the Kola, were sailing back to Russia after a deployment in the Mediterranean.

British warship HMS Argyll, based in Plymouth, Devon, was deployed and used its Lynx helicopter and sensors to locate and monitor the movement of the Russian ships off the coast of France and through the English Channel.