In recent years, the Russian state has become increasingly reckless and aggressive, not only engaging in proxy wars in Syria and Libya but actively partaking in espionage and cyber attacks on Sovereign territories like us right here in the UK. A little over 2 days ago it culminated in the worst diplomatic incident since the French blew up a Greenpeace ship.
The SSN Gepard, an Akula class, nuclear-powered submarine managed to somehow ground itself within the Firth of Forth. The fact a Russian submarine is within the U.K. waters is bad enough; however when you consider the fact our latest aircraft carrier, HMS Prince of Wales was undergoing training exercises nearby the whole situation becomes a degree more sinister. The immediate question is raised, what was the Gepard doing there? The clear answer so far is intelligence gathering on the Prince of Wales, but given Russian actions in the last few years, anything could’ve been on the table.
The most crucial and dangerous part of any international incident is not the incident itself, but how the nations involved react in the following hours and days. So how did the U.K. and Russia react?
The UK sprung into action, cordoning off the Gepard and immediately establishing whether the submarine was safe or not given it’s nuclear status. The Russian Ambassador had decided to take an ill-opportune holiday so the deputy Ambassador was contacted in his stead however he remained uncooperative. 68 submariners were escorted off the submarine and put into custody, however a small group of submariners refused to leave the reactor. In the end an elite crack team of the SBS were sent in to peacefully remove these submariners with the “preservation of life” a top priority of the team according to the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister was quoted as saying, in light of the recent events that “The UK showed once again that its territorial integrity shall not be in question. With the passage of a UN resolution in our favour, it is also evident that the world supports our cause.” u/CheckMyBrain11 elaborated on their commitment to investing in Her Majesty’s Armed Forces, a clear signal that the Government and the Conservative Party will work to protect the United Kingdom’s interests “More importantly, our resolution to this issue shows that our 11 billion pound investment into defence will be worth every single penny. We will never back down to Russian aggression.”
Sadly President Putin wasn’t available to comment however it is reported that he denied all knowledge of the SSN Gepard being in the Firth of Forth in a blatant up yours to the U.K. and it’s national interests. It is also reported that Putin instructed Russian aircraft to deliberately fly into U.K. airspace for reasons which are unclear; thankfully the brave boys at RAF Lossiemouth who are part of the Typhoon Rapid Reaction force saw them off safely. Not only does this set a dangerous precedent for future relations but shows Russia’s complete lack of regard for its actions and the consequences which may entail.
All of this clearly highlights Britain’s position is still one at the forefront of the global stage and still faces a wide and hardened roster of enemies, from terrorist groups to nations. It is all the more reason why we must maintain a strict at home and overseas presence, in line with our NATO allies around the world to ensure that the interests and security of the British people is never, ever in question.
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