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Three Russian ships enter English Channel

Three Russian ships enter English Channel

LONDON: Three Russian ships including a destroyer have entered the English Channel and are being monitored by Britain’s Royal Navy as they pass through, the Ministry of Defence said on Tuesday.

It is the latest in a string of similar incidents and comes at a time of tense relations between London and Moscow over the crisis in Ukraine and the inquiry into the death of Russian ex-spy Alexander Litvinenko.

“MoD can confirm 3 Russian ships being monitored by @RoyalNavy HMS Argyll through Channel. No exercises seen,” the ministry said on its Twitter feed.




“Russian Udaloy class destroyer Severomorsk returning from Mediterranean with tanker and support ship. Due to leave Channel later”. Russia’s defence ministry said the ships were en route to the North Atlantic, where they would be taking part in exercises “on anti-air and anti-submarine defence”.

The Channel is used frequently and legitimately as a route by Russian warships but Nato countries are on alert over fears that Moscow could attempt to destabilise countries on Europe’s eastern flank that were in its orbit during Soviet times.

The Severomorsk, an anti-submarine destroyer, was among four ships which passed through the Channel in November although French authorities denied Russian reports that they were carrying out military exercises.

A Russian warship was also tracked through the Channel in February while the previous month, Britain summoned the Russian ambassador after Tupolev Tu-95 bombers, known as Russian “bears”, were found flying close to British airspace.

Published in Dawn, April 15th, 2015

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