A Royal Navy air defence destroyer has been scrambled to shadow a Russian military ship travelling through the English Channel.
Portsmouth-based HMS Diamond and a Wildcat helicopter from 815 Naval Air Squadron at RNAS Yeovilton were dispatched last night to follow the Russian underwater reconnaissance ship Yantar after it approached the UK coast.
The giant vessels were pictured side by side in the Channel today as the Navy ship guided the Russian vessel north.
A Navy spokesman said: 'HMS Diamond met up with Yantar and will continue to monitor the vessel's movements and activities as it continues north.'
The Type 45 destroyer, based in Portsmouth, Hants, took over the monitoring of the boat from a French naval ship, which had been tasked to follow it through the Bay of Biscay.
The 354ft long (108 metre), 5,736 tonne Yantar is officially an oceanographic research vessel, but is understood to be bursting with surveillance equipment.
Royal Navy ship HMS Diamond (right) is pictured shadowing a Russian ship as