Russia’s sole aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov, along with an accompanying nuclear-powered battle cruiser, the Pyotr Velikiy, and a salvage tug boat, were passing through the English Channel on Thursday, and the British Navy was there to keep a “close eye” on them as they did.

British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon didn’t mince words regarding his order to escort the Russian fleet as it passed by, publicly rebuking the Russian government’s involvement in the suppression of rebels within the Syrian nation.

“We will keep a close eye on the Admiral Kuznetsov as it skulks back to Russia; [it’s] a ship of shame whose mission has only extended the suffering of the Syrian people,” Fallon said in an official statement. “We are man-marking these vessels every step of the way around the U.K. as part of our steadfast commitment to keep Britain safe.”

Russia played a large role in combat operations in Syria, providing air support and sea-based bombardments against rebels in the contested city of Aleppo and elsewhere. The British official choosing to call the Russian aircraft carrier a “ship of shame” echoes sentiments expressed by other world leaders and representatives, including American ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Powers, who once asked Syria, Russia, and Iran, “Are you truly incapable of shame?” in regard to their actions in Aleppo.

The British Navy deployed Typhoon jets and a frigate to escort the Russian carrier group from a safe distance. A Navy spokesman took a more political line in his assessment of the British response to the presence of the Russian vessels: “Remaining at a respectful distance, but keeping the Russian warships clearly visible, Royal Navy sailors keep watch on every movement through their binoculars and use state-of-the-art radars to track the course and speed of the ships as they pass close to the U.K.”

He also explained that the naval escort was intended to “provide reassurance to the nations which border the North Sea and English Channel.”

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman, Igor Konashenkov, replied to the British official’s statements by dismissing the need for such an escort, and taking his own jab at the Royal Navy.

“The aim of such statements, and the kind of show being played out with the escort of our ships, is to distract the attention of British taxpayers from the real state of the British Royal Navy,” Konashenkov said in a statement.