The Royal Navy monitored a Russian warship as it sailed close to Britain’s territorial waters over Christmas, the Ministry of Defense in London said Tuesday.
The Admiral Gorshkov’s passage off the Scottish coast was part of an “upsurge” in Russian naval activity near the British Isles during the festive period, the government added.
The Gorshkov was tracked by the British frigate HMS St Albans. A smaller vessel, HMS Tyne, was dispatched Christmas Eve to escort a Russian spy ship in the North Sea, while a British helicopter was tasked with monitoring two other Russian ships close to British waters.
U.K. Defense Minister Gavin Williamson said in a statement Tuesday the he would “not hesitate in defending our waters or tolerate any form of aggression.”
Though Russian ships are legally allowed to sail close to territorial waters, such acts are viewed as provocative.
The fraught relationship between London and Moscow was made apparent last week when British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson used a press conference in Russia to accuse the Kremlin of meddling in Western elections.
Sharing a stage with Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov, Johnson said there was "abundant evidence" of Russian election interference in the U.S. and Europe.
Lavrov shot back claiming Johnson recently told British politicians there was scant evidence of Russian meddling in 2016’s European Union referendum.
“Not successfully I think is the word you need to introduce,” replied Johnson.