Russia Sends Warships To Australia

Cruiser Varyag, flagship of Russia's Pacific Fleet, October 12, 2005Russia has sent a fleet of warships towards Australia in an apparent display of muscle-flexing ahead of the G20 meeting amid tensions between the two countries over the MH17 crash.

Defence announced late on Wednesday it is “monitoring Russian naval vessels that are currently transiting through international waters to the north of Australia. . . .”

Defence Force chief Mark Binskin confirmed Defence was watching the fleet. In a reference to the fact it was a considerable distance for the Russian navy to travel, he noted one of the ships was an ocean-going tug, which tows other ships. . . .

Defence sources said the Australian Defence Force had sent two frigates, the Stuart and the Paramatta, and a P-3 Orion surveillance plane to monitor the Russians.

It comes as Prime Minister Tony Abbott had a sharp meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Beijing on the sidelines of the APEC summit, during which they discussed the MH17 crash. . . .

Russia’s TASS news agency reported late last month that the battle group, led by a Slava-class cruiser that is capable of carrying nuclear-tipped cruise missiles, left from Vladivostok on October 23.

The fleet is made up of the “Varyag” cruiser, a destroyer named “Marshal Shaposhnikov”, a salvage and rescue tug and a replenishment oiler.

Image: Cruiser Varyag, flagship of Russia's Pacific Fleet, October 12, 2005 (photo: Royal Australian Navy)