Russian navy ships in English Channel, heading for drills

Russian military inspectors to observe naval war games involving 14 nations amid growing tensions with former Soviet state.

Russian navy ships in English Channel, heading for drills

World Bulletin / News Desk 

A team of Russian military inspectors has arrived in Scotland to watch NATO naval exercises after the UK's Ministry of Defence was forced to accept the four-day visit under a European arms control treaty, according to British media.

The Telegraph daily reported on Tuesday that the military experts, who arrived in northern Scotland the day before, were attending Exercise Joint Warrior, which is designed to show the Alliance's strength in the face of what has been reported in Britain as being "increased aggression" from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The visit is the first time Russia has sent inspectors to attend NATO exercises since it annexed Ukraine's Crimea last March, which led to a deterioration in relations between Moscow and the Alliance, the daily said.

Moscow has repeatedly blamed the U.S. and allied Western state for destabilizing Ukraine and seeking to expand NATO's presence in eastern Europe.

- 'Sensitive information'

UK Prime Minister David Cameron said last month that Exercise Joint Warrior would “send a clear message to those who threaten us that the UK and NATO have the military capabilities, resolve and ability to support our Eastern Allies and defend our own waters and airspace".

The UK's Ministry of Defence said the presence of Russian experts comprised "a routine inspection", was part of its obligations under the Vienna Document 2011 and would have no effect on the exercise.

"The inspection party (from the Russian National Nuclear Threat Reduction) will not have access to any sensitive information and will be accompanied throughout," it said.

NATO’s three Standing Naval Forces consisting of 14 ships will join more than 40 additional warships, submarines and 70 aircraft, according to NATO.

It is not unusual to have Russian warships in the Channel. NATO dismissed in November a Russian media report that a squadron of Russian warships had conducted military exercises there.

Last Mod: 14 Nisan 2015, 16:53
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