Russian warships have entered the English Channel ahead of planned anti-aircraft and anti-submarine drills in the northern Atlantic, it has been reported.
The Russian Defence Ministry’s officials were quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying the ships belonged to Russia’s Northern Fleet, which sparked controversy with a similar move last November.
The head of the Northern Fleet’s press service, Capt. 1st-Rank Vadim Serga said: "We’re not holding anything in the English Channel. The ships are currently taking a course through the Channel, but exercises will be held later in the northern regions of the Atlantic."
It is not unusual for Russian ships to pass the British coast but the latest incident comes amid heightened international tensions.
Last time a squadron from the Russian navy passed through the Channel on 28 November last year it was tailed by a Royal Navy patrol boat. Nato was then forced to deny any security risk after Northern Fleet commanders were quoted by the RIA news agency boasting about “undertaking a series of exercises” while anchored off the UK.
Independent News Service