Russia has poked fun at the UK’s intercept of one of its submarines, saying it was surprised that the Royal Navy needed NATO’s help in tracking a submarine travelling at slow speeds “in surfaced position.”
Russia’s Stary Oskol submarine was first detected in the North Sea by NATO ships on Tuesday, and was then escorted by Britain’s frigate HMS Kent past the Strait of Dover on Wednesday morning.
Daniel Thomas, the commander of HMS Kent, said that detecting the Russian submarine “was a combined effort with NATO allies and shadowing such units is routine activity for the Royal Navy.”
Following the incident, Russia’s Ministry of Defense issued a statement on Wednesday, mockingly saying “an up-top sub can’t be missed.”
“The Russian Defense Ministry is surprised that joint UK-NATO efforts were required to discover a submarine traveling in a surfaced position at slow speed, accompanied by a tugboat,” the statement read.
“It would have been strange if the Royal Navy together with its NATO allies failed to notice the submarine, particularly considering the fact that our sailors have been greeted — according to an old tradition — by passing merchant vessels from different countries in the Barents, Norwegian and Northern seas over the past days," it continued.
Meanwhile, British media hailed the move by the Royal Navy, claiming that that the sub was there on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s personal orders prior to a Euro 2016 football match between the two nations on Saturday.
“Vladimir Putin has sent an attack submarine into the English Channel – just days before England battle Russia in the Euros,” the Sun wrote.
The Daily Mail and Metro echoed the same notion, with the latter writing “Putin sends submarine into English Channel days before England vs Russia at Euro 2016.”
UK Defense Secretary Michael Fallon also praised the Royal Navy in a press release, saying “This shows that the Navy is maintaining a vigilant watch in international and territorial waters to keep Britain safe and protect us from potential threats.”
According to Moscow, the Stary Oskol was on a journey from the Northern Fleet in the Arctic to the Black Sea in order to enter its new home base in Sevastopol, located on the Crimean peninsula.