According to a report, British warships will sail for the Black Sea in May amid mounting tensions between Ukraine and Russia.
A news outlet reported, citing senior naval sources that the deployment is aimed at showing solidarity with Ukraine and Britain’s NATO allies.
According to the report, the One Type 45 destroyer outfitted with anti-aircraft missiles and an anti-submarine Type 23 frigate will leave the Royal Navy’s carrier task group in the Mediterranean and travel through the Bosphorus into the Black Sea.
The report added that the RAF F-35B Lightning stealth jets and Merlin submarine-hunting helicopters will stand ready on the task group’s flagship, the carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, to support the warships in the Black Sea.
While the Ministry of Defence insists the pre-planned deployment is routine, it comes at a time of heightened concerns of conflict between Russia and Ukraine which has seen a build-up of Russian troops along the border and clashes in eastern Ukraine between the army and pro-Russian separatists.
Last week, Vladimir Putin heightened fears of a possible Russian attack by ordering the blockade of the strategically important Kerch Strait.
Russian warships moved into a place to control the strait on Friday, cutting off sea access to Ukraine’s southeastern coastline and eastern Crimea.
The Kremlin confirmed all foreign and Ukrainian military vessels will be forbidden to travel from the Black Sea into the Sea of Azov for the next six months, although commercial vessels won’t be affected.
The blockade was announced a day after President Joe Biden cancelled plans to send two American destroyers to the Black Sea for fear of escalating tensions.
UK defence chiefs confirmed six Roy Air Force Typhoon super jets will travel to eastern Europe as part of another pre-planned mission.
The Typhoons will be supported by troops from the RAF’s No 1 Expeditionary Logistics Squadron and No 2 Mechanical Transport Squadron – they’re deploying from bases in the United Kingdom this week and will patrol the skies around the Black Sea.
A ministry spokesperson told a news outlet that the UK government was working closely with Ukraine to monitor the situation and continued to call on Russia to de-escalate.
The newspaper cited the spokesperson as saying that the United Kingdom and our international allies were steadfast in their support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Here we go again – we just don’t seem to be able to keep our beaks out of the war trough, and it’s not our fight.