The UK is keeping a close eye on suspected Russian spy ships, Minister of State for Defense of the UK Baroness Annabel Goldie told UK-based news wire PA on Friday.
Goldie was referring to reports earlier in April that a Russian ship called the Admiral Vladimirsky was sailing around the Baltic and North Seas spying on undersea infrastructure.
According to PA, the Admiral Vladimirsky is officially a research ship, but suspicions arose after Dutch journalists recently caught footage of the ship with an armed soldier on board.
After the ship was reportedly spotted in UK waters, MPs turned to Defense Secretary Ben Wallace, urging him to explain how he intended on responding the the ship's presence.
Meanwhile, a join investigation by public broadcasters from Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland found that Russian ships were operating in Nordic waters in its effort to discover how to sabotage underwater cables and wind farms.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov denied the reports and the investigation's findings to CNN, saying that the accusations were "baseless."
The UK will remain vigilant about the ship
The UK is not convinced by this denial, however, and continues to closely monitor the activity of Russian ships in the area.
“We take that presence very seriously, as do our NATO allies, and we all have a role to play," said Goldie. “The United Kingdom deployed one of our vessels, HMS Somerset, to be in the vicinity."
“We take that presence very seriously, as do our NATO allies, and we all have a role to play."Defense Minister Baroness Annabel Goldie
She added that the UK regularly tracks Russian ships that claim to be up to regular activity like fishing but could be doing other things.
“We are constantly aware of what they are doing. The important thing is for the Russians to understand there’s constant surveillance, there’s this vigilance on the part of not just the UK, but our NATO allies. We’re very vigilant about ensuring that if we detected any potential risk to critical subsea infrastructure, then appropriate action would be taken.”
Goldie spoke to PA at a meeting of NATO's North Atlantic Council and it's Military Committee that she hosted on Friday at the Clyde Naval Base. At the meeting, Goldie underlined the UK's commitment to the NATO Nuclear Deterrence.