Posting on the CovertShores website, defence analyst H I Sutton said: “Controversial Russian ‘research vessel’ Yantar has entered the English Channel heading northbound. It is currently south of the Lizard.
He added: “The ship has turned on its AIS (automated Information System) so it is currently visible on AIS aggregators such as MarineTraffic.com.
“Yantar is known for operating near undersea infrastructure including internet cables.
“It was recently seen near internet cables off Ireland, but has been difficult to keep track of with Open Source intelligence (OSINT).”
To illustrate his point, Mr Sutton tweeted a map from Marine Traffic showing the location of the vessel, while a infographic on his website offering a point-by-point analysis of its capabilities.
Mr Sutton also shared an analysis published in 2016 in which he said:”The Russian Navy’s Project 22010 mini-sub host ship Yantar is known for loitering near undersea internet cables (known as Submarine communications Cables – SCC).
“Yantar is operated by Russia’s secretive Main Directorate of Underwater Research (GUGI) who operate many of Russia’s special mission (spy) submarines.
“Yantar (actually Cruys) was launched in 2014 and joined the Russian Navy in 2015. It is described variously as a ‘Special Purpose Ship’ and an ‘Oceanographic vessel’ which is a euphemism for a spy ship.
“She can host two deep submergence submarines for undersea engineering missions.”
(More to follow)