UK sends warships to watch Russian ship in English Channel


Britain said on Thursday it would keep a close eye on a fleet of Russian warships approaching British waters on their way to the eastern Mediterranean.

Type 45 destroyer HMS Duncan sailed from Portsmouth on Tuesday to track the Kuznetsov group as it headed south from the Norwegian Sea, escorted by the Type 23 frigate HMS Richmond.

The vessels are expected to pass through the Dover Straits on Friday morning, the Sun reported.

It is understood a Russian taskforce, including the carrier Admiral Kuznetsov, is on a course to sail through the North Sea and then the English Channel.

He went on to warn that Russia would remain the dominant force in the Mediterranean for some time to come because "what is left of the Royal Navy" is "no match" for the Russian fleet.

A spokesman for the Norwegian military intelligence service said the country's armed forces frequently releases such footage, while newspaper VG quoted General Morten Haga Lunde, head of the service, as saying the eight ships involved "will probably play a role in the deciding battle for Aleppo".

Norwegian surveillance teams picked up the nuclear-powered Admiral Kuznetzov and six other naval ships off coast on Monday en-route Syria.

A senior North Atlantic Treaty Organisation diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that Russian warships are carrying fighter bombers to bolster their attack on the besieged Syrian city - and that it was "not a friendly port call".

"They are deploying all of the Northern fleet and much of the Baltic fleet in the largest surface deployment since the end of the Cold War", the diplomat told Reuters.

'This is not a friendly port call.

'With this assault, it should be enough to allow a Russian exit strategy if Moscow believes [President Bashar] Assad is now stable enough to survive'.

Theresa May has condemned Vladimir Putin's aggression in Syria as Royal Navy vessels monitored Russian warships thought to be heading to reinforce the attack on the besieged city Aleppo.

However, Nato said Russian Federation had the right to operate in global waters.

British defence minister Michael Fallon said the Royal Navy would be watching closely. I am sure our submarines are out there trying to find that out right now.

Russian Federation is racing towards the English Channel with their Northern Fleet, but where are they going?

In 2011 the Admiral Kuznetsov and other Russian warships sheltered from winter storms about 30 miles off the Moray Firth.

"At the same time, the deployment of the carrier group to the eastern Mediterranean does not inspire confidence that Russian Federation is working towards a political solution to the conflict in Syria".



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