The Russian fleet is believed to be planning military drills off Scottish coast before heading towards the Med
A FLEET of Russian warships have been spotted steaming out of base – and it is heading for Britain.
Vladimir Putin‘s policy of gunboat diplomacy continued as a giant aircraft carrier and nuclear submarine were among eight vessels snapped sailing south past Norway yesterday.
Russian navy flagship and nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov is leading a group of eight vessels towards the Syrian port of Tartus
The ships are expected to pass through the English Channel, prompting the Royal Navy to prepare to scramble ships
The fearsome fleet is headed for Russia’s Mediterranean base in Tartus, Syria.
But first, the ships are set to pass through the English Channel in the latest act of sabre-rattling from Moscow.
Royal Navy warships are being readied to intercept the fleet which could pass within miles of the British coast.
Russia’s flagship aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov was amongst the ships to depart from the Arctic port of Severomorsk on Saturday.
The 55,000-tonne colossus is travelling with the Pyotr Veliky battlecruiser, the Vice-Admiral Kulakov destroyer and large anti-submarine ships.
The convoy was caught on camera by Norwegian spy planes on Monday.
Russian fighter jets ‘buzz’ US Navy warships in the Baltic Sea
In addition to safeguarding maritime navigation, the ships are meant to “respond to new types of modern threats like piracy and international terrorism.”.
The fleet is expected to carry out drills north of Scotland before sailing just miles from the English coast.
A Nato naval source told The Telegraph: “It’s not catching us by surprise, we are working up what to do and we are all over it. “The most likely thing is that they will go through the North Sea, down the Dover Strait and through the Channel.
“They might even stop off the North East coast to fly for a bit.”
It is not the first time the Royal Navy has been called into action to escort on of the ships. HMS York shadows the Admiral Kuznetsov here in 2011
The move is the latest piece of sabre-rattling from Moscow, led by President Vladimir Putin
The show of strength is the latest act of defiance from Moscow in the face of Western pressure over its bombing campaign in Syria.
Earlier this month Russia bombers went on a run around Western Europe, forcing the air forces of four Nato members to scramble their fighter jets.
President Vladimir Putin has been supporting embattled Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad with air strikes.
The bombing of an aid convoy last month saw a fragile ceasefire disintegrate and put even greater strain on relations between the US and Moscow.
Neighbour Turkey warned yesterday that Syria could become a proxy war for the two superpowers as they pile weapons and advisers into the Middle East.