British Royal Navy monitors as Russian war ships pass through English Channel

By Amy R. Connolly  |  Oct. 21, 2016 at 12:10 PM
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LONDON, Oct. 21 (UPI) -- The British Royal Navy and Air Force monitored Russian warships Friday as they passed through the English Channel en route to Syria, defense officials said.

Russian officials said they were headed toward the Mediterranean Sea for Syria to deliver supplies to the war-torn country. The flotilla included an aircraft carrier, battleship, anti-submarine ship, destroyer and other vessels. The British navy deployed two destroyers earlier this week to monitor the Russian ships as they traveled through international waters.

British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon said the Russian ships were being monitored closely.

"When these ships near our waters we will man-mark them every step of the way," he said. "We will be watching as part of our steadfast commitment to keep Britain safe."

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the Russian ships would be monitored "in a responsible and measured way."

"We are concerned that the Russian carrier group will support military operations in Syria in ways which will increase humanitarian and human suffering," Stoltenberg said.

The Russian deployment will increase the country's firepower in Syria, where it has assisted in air campaigns in support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

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