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Steregushchy-class corvette Stoykiy participates in the dress rehearsal of Russian Navy Day parade in Kronstadt, St. Petersburg, Russia. Alamy Stock Photo

Monitoring of Russian Naval ships begins off the south coast

The Russian military are expected to conduct drills from tomorrow in the Atlantic at a location off the south coast.

THE IRISH DEFENCE Forces along with French, British and US naval forces have begun monitoring the movements of Russian ships en route to an exercise off the south coast. 

Sources have confirmed to The Journal that an Irish Air Corps aircraft was patrolling south of Cork yesterday.

The Russians have decided to transit through the English channel and will have to cross the Irish Exclusive Economic Zone to get to the new location for their naval drills. 

It is understood the Casa maritime patrol aircraft had been out over seas where the Russian vessels are expected to cross while a PC12 surveillance aircraft was also spotted in Cork Airport. 

Sources have said an Irish navy ship departed in recent days from Cork Harbour and is on patrol but it is not known where the vessel is at present or if her crew are tasked with monitoring the ships. 

Yesterday a French naval ship followed two Russian naval ships down from the North Sea and through the English Channel. 

A Royal Navy warship and US destroyer have begun monitoring two Russian naval vessels as they transit through the English Channel.

The French military said on Monday that it had monitored two Russian ships, the Soobrazitelniy and the Stoykiy, and had now handed over the responsibility to HMS Argyle, a Type 23 frigate, and the US Navy’s USS Roosevelt.

A spokesperson for the British Ministry of Defence described the tasking as a “normal response”, adding: “As part of a unified response with our allies, the Royal Navy monitor the presence of Russian naval ships as they transit through the English Channel.”

It is understood the Russian ships are currently off the English and French coasts.

Tass, Russia’s state news agency, reported on January 24 that the two Russian vessels had left Kaliningrad to conduct “combat exercises”.

There has also been a large number of flights by British RAF and US aircraft in recent days. 

On Monday The Journal reported that the Russian Navy had released details of its drills off the coast of Norway in recent days as they simulated submarine hunting with ships and aircraft. 

The ships from the Russian Northern Fleet are suspected to be the vessels destined for naval drills in the Atlantic off the coast of Ireland. 

A Russian oil tanker, the Vyasma, thought to be supplying the vessels with fuel, is in the English Channel off Portsmouth this morning, according to tracking data.

She had journeyed from the exercise location off Norway and headed south through the North Sea, entering the busy shipping route at the English Channel overnight.

Yury Filatov, the Russian Ambassador in Dublin, is expected before the Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs later today.

With reporting from Press Association.

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