UK to deploy warships to Strait of Hormuz amid tensions over US strike


London: The United Kingdom said it will send two warships to the Strait of Hormuz to ensure the safety of UK vessels and citizens amid rising tensions in the Middle East in the wake of the killing of a top Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani by the United States.

“I have instructed preparations for HMS Montrose and HMS Defender to return to accompanying duties of Red Ensign Shipping in the Strait of Hormuz. The government will take all necessary steps to protect our ships and citizens at this time,” UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace wrote on Twitter.

Wallace added that on Friday, he discussed the situation in the region with US State Secretary Mike Pompeo. The top UK defence official noted that during the recent several months, US forces stationed in Iraq had multiple times been attacked by Iranian-backed militia.

“General Soleimani has been at the heart of the use of proxies to undermine neighbouring sovereign nations and target Iran’s enemies,” Wallace argued.

Last year, Iran seized two tankers – a Liberian-flagged one and a UK-flagged one – in the Strait of Hormuz. The vessels were subsequently released but the developments contributed to already-heightened tensions in the region.

Soleimani was killed in Baghdad by a US airstrike authorized by President Donald Trump early on Friday. Iran vowed harsh revenge over the killing, while the United States said it was committed to de-escalation. (Sputnik/ANI)