Russian Warships Heading to Australia
Strange news coming out of Australia today, with reports indicating there are Russian Warships heading to Australia: A GROUP of Russian warships are cruising international waters to Australia’s north, Defence has confirmed.
Defence is monitoring the vessels which were believed to be near Bougainville in Papua New Guinea on Wednesday evening.
Channel 7 news earlier reported that Russian warships are “steaming toward Australia” in a “show of strength”.
It reports that it is a “defiant show of force from the super power, ahead of this weekend’s G20 meeting of world leaders”.
Seven reports that four Russian warships are bearing down on Australian waters, but Defence would not confirm the number of warships in the fleet.
It claims the ships – led by the guided missile Cruiser, Varyag, the flag ship of Russia’s Pacific fleet – are in the Coral Sea off Bougainville.
Meanwhile, a report by the Lowy Institute Military Fellow James Brown said the the flagship of the Russian Navy’s Black Sea Fleet, the guided missile cruiser Moskva, has been conducting unilateral live-fire drills in the South China Sea.
The ship’s appearance in Southeast Asia was described by the US Naval Institute as “a rare show of surface presence in the region’’.
Reports also suggest the Russian Navy frigate Yaruslov Mudry and a replenishment ship are in the area, which were until Monday berthed in Jakarta.
In a statement, Defence said: “In accordance with international law, Defence have been monitoring the Russian vessels.
“Defence regularly undertakes maritime surveillance patrols in the approaches to Australia.
“The movement of these vessels is entirely consistent with provisions under international law for military vessels to exercise freedom of navigation in international waters.
“Russian naval vessels have previously been deployed in conjunction with major international summits, such as the APEC meeting in Singapore in 2009. A warship from Russia’s Pacific Fleet also accompanied former Russian President Medvedev’s visit to San Francisco in 2010.’’
The news comes after a highly anticipated exchange between Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Russian President Vladimir Putin at this week’s APEC summit in Beijing ahead of the G20 leaders’ summit in Brisbane on the weekend.
While “no harsh words” were exchanged during the 15 minute meeting, Russia rejected Mr Abbott’s demand the Kremlin apologise for the downing of the passenger jet MH17 over Ukraine.
The attack resulted in the deaths of 298 people, including 38 Australians and is believed to have been carried out by separatists using Russia equipment.
Defence says the movement of the Russian vessels is consistent with provisions under international law, allowing military vessels to exercise freedom of navigation in international waters.
It’s not the first time Russian naval vessels have been present while an international summit is on.
Russian warships were around for an APEC meeting in Singapore in 2009 as well as former Russian President Medvedev’s visit to San Francisco in 2010.
Defence is directing further questions regarding the vessels to Russian authorities.
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