Royal Navy destroyer HMS Liverpool has sailed alongside the Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov as she made her way north around British waters.
The Portsmouth-based Type 42 warship was acting as fleet escort as she followed a carrier-led Russian task group from the English Channel off the south west coast of England to the seas off South West Ireland.
Liverpool’s Commanding Officer, Commander Colin Williams, said:
As an island nation it is essential for the UK to maintain a military presence in our waters.
HMS Liverpool is well-placed to carry out this duty after her extremely successful Operation ELLAMY and NATO contributions off Libya last year.
In December, the Portsmouth-based destroyer HMS York was sent to shadow the Kuznetsov group as it sailed south from Russia - the closest that a Russian naval task group had been to the United Kingdom in 20 years.
After a handover from the French warship Le Henaff, Liverpool established her position between the UK and the Russian task group, shadowing them as they progressed north past Land’s End, then onto Ireland.
The task group of two warships and five support ships are making their way home to the northern and Baltic fleets of the Russian Navy.
Liverpool is due to decommission at the end of March but has already gone through a maintenance period in Portsmouth and a farewell visit to London, where thousands of members of the public stepped aboard. On leaving London she was activated as the fleet ready escort.
When her escort duty finishes HMS Liverpool will conduct training exercises in the UK and Norway, before a final visit to her home town of Liverpool. She decommissions on 30 March 2012 in Portsmouth.