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British navy shadows Russian warship, spy ship near U.K. waters

LONDON -- Britain's Royal Navy has escorted one of Russia's warships through the North Sea near U.K. waters, officials said Tuesday, amid increasing tensions between the two countries. 

The HMS St. Albans, with 190 sailors on board, was used to escort the Russian Admiral Gorshkov frigate on Christmas Day through what British officials called "areas of national interest."

In addition, a Royal Navy helicopter was used to track other Russian vessels in the area.

The navy said there has been a recent surge in Russian vessels traveling near U.K. waters. Officials said that on Christmas Eve, a navy vessel was used to escort a Russian intelligence-gathering ship through the North Sea and English Channel.      

According to the BBC, Russian media report the Admiral Gorshkov, a new guided-missile frigate, is still undergoing trials.

Russian warships have used the international waters of the North Sea in recent times to sail to and from the Mediterranean for deployment off Syria, the BBC notes.

Defense Secretary Gavin William said Britain wouldn't tolerate aggression.

British officials warn that Russian ships may cut undersea internet cables.

Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, the chief of the UK's defense staff, said earlier this month that Britain and NATO need to prioritize protecting the lines of communication, the BBC rerports.

He said it would "immediately and potentially catastrophically" hit the economy if they were cut or disrupted.

The cables criss-cross the seabed, connecting countries and continents.

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