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Mar 25 2020

NATO monitors Russian ships in English Channel

NORTHWOOD, United Kingdom - From the week of 16 March, Standing NATO Maritime Group One (SNMG1) has been a part of a larger Allied military presence in the English Channel supporting maritime situational awareness and monitoring a number of Russian Navy ships operating in the area.

SNMG1 currently consists of flagship HNoMS Otto Sverdrup, HDMS Absalon, HMS Sutherland and FGS Rhoen. The common effort has been coordinated among the Allied navies and their Maritime Operations Centres leading to a shared situational awareness.

“Being one of the busiest seaways in the world, with approximately 500 ships per day transiting, free access and entry to the Channel is crucial for NATO. There has been a substantial non-allied military activity in the area lately. Our job as a NATO force, together with our Allies, is to deliver NATO’s ‘deter and defend’ message and provide maritime security,” says Commodore Yngve Skoglund, commander of SNMG1.

Free access and entry to the Channel is crucial for NATO. There has been a substantial non-allied military activity in the area lately.

Securing the maritime global commons and the freedom of navigation at sea is an important task for all NATO maritime forces. The Standing NATO Maritime Group is a ready force, able to conduct naval operations wherever needed and with immediate response. In this case our forces have been in the right place again.


HMS Mersey monitors Russian Navy’s Steregushchy-class corvette, Soobrazitelny 531 (in the foreground) in the English Channel. (Photo taken from HNoMS Otto Sverdrup)

“Our presence in the English Channel for the past few weeks is exactly what the standing maritime forces are made for. Every day we train and prepare to be ready for whatever task is given to us from NATO Maritime Command. It was a great pleasure for us to be able to support our British and French Allies in the Channel, and a great opportunity to test our forces’ ability to react swiftly to an upcoming task. We are here to sustain NATO’s essential work even when all nations are facing tough times,” says Skoglund.

Story by Public Affairs Office at MARCOM

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