Defence Forces monitor armed Russian naval vessel off west coast

One of the ships, the Admiral Grigorovich, has been involved in cruise missile attacks on Ukraine

The Defence Forces has confirmed it monitored four Russian navy and commercial vessels as they travelled off the Irish coast last week.

The group included the Admiral Grigorovich, which is armed with cruise missiles and has been used in attacks on Ukraine since the start of Russian’s invasion in February 2022.

Russia military ships, or ships connected to the Russia Government, have become frequent visitors to Irish waters in recent years prompting concern among some experts that they are mapping or interfering with subsea cables off the Irish west coast.

The latest group also included the Kama, which regularly accompanies the Grigorovich and acts as a support vessel. The other two ships were not identified.


The ships were photographed by an Air Corps patrol aircraft and Naval Service’s LE George Bernard Shaw.

The ships were sailing through the Irish Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), which extends to 320km off the coast. They did not enter Irish territorial waters.

The ships travelled from the Mediterranean and along Ireland’s west coast before they were picked up and tracked by the Royal Navy. They are now off the coast of Norway and appear to be heading for one Russia’s northern seaports.

“There were four Russian vessels inside the Irish EEZ, which were a combination of merchant and military Vessels. The names of two are known; the Admiral Grigorovich (military) and The Kama (merchant),” a Defence Forces spokesman said. “They were monitored by the Irish Defence Forces during the conduct of air and naval patrols ad have since departed the Irish EEZ.”

The timing of the journey and the route along has aroused suspicions among some defence analysts. In late April several Nato took part in Exercise Dynamic Mongoose in the North Atlantic aimed at responding to subsurface threats.

On Monday, 13 Nato navies will begin Exercise Formidable Shield, a large biennial exercise in the North Atlantic which lasts three weeks.

About 4,000 personnel from across Nato are expected to participate.

Conor Gallagher

Conor Gallagher

Conor Gallagher is Crime and Security Correspondent of The Irish Times