Vladimir Putin’s envoy in Scotland has mocked Britain’s nuclear deterrent and the Royal Navy as not being worth spying on.
In a letter to The Herald, Russian consul-general Andrey Pritsepov dismissed reports that his country’s submarines were “lurking” near Faslane to keep tabs on Trident missile-carriers.
However, the diplomat did so by suggesting Russians would not vote for a leader who commended his navy to chase “someone’s sold and lonely operative u-boat which is firing missiles in the opposite direction”.
Mr Pritsepov’s dig echoes reports in Kremlin-controlled Russian-language media earlier this year which said the “waves now ruled Britannia”.
Moscow experts – citing reports that the Royal Navy was having difficulty deploying its ageing Trident submarines – have said the UK is “naked under the sea”.
The diplomat also appears to be referencing the misfiring of a missile by the submarines in recent tests.
Mr Pritsepov also suggested the Russian navy would have no need to follow “Type 45 destroyers with faulty engines or an aircraft carrier without aircrafts on it, all of them being located in Scottish waters”.
The Russian criticised the Herald for, like other UK media, publishing claims Russian subs were close to Faslane. UK and Russian underwater vessels are understood to play cat and mouse regularly.
Mr Pritsepov said such accounts should be taken with a pinch of salt.
His mocking on the Royal Navy echoes concerns in the British military about the readiness of the British fleet, which has shrunk in recent years and which has little surface presence in Scottish waters.
However, Russia’s own navy, always seen as its cinderella service, has its own problems.
This month it emerged plans for a £9bn nuclear-powered super-carrier to carry scores of fighters had been put on hold.
This ship was to replace its sole ageing aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov, which has steamed past Scotland several times in recent years, often belching black smoke.
Original article: By David Leask, The Herald.