The British Royal Navy has sent warships to “man-mark,” or closely watch, Russia’s northern fleet, including the Admiral Kuznetsov, Russia’s only aircraft carrier, as it prepares to pass though the English Channel.
“When these ships near our waters we will man-mark them every step of the way. We will be watching as part of our steadfast commitment to keep Britain safe,” a Ministry of Defence spokesman told the Telegraph.
The Admiral Kuznetsov task group, which includes the carrier, battlecruisers, and smaller destroyers, set out for Syria’s coast in the Mediterranean to continue the brutal siege of Aleppo, a strategically important city in northeastern Syria that government forces have tried to retake control of for years.
Britain’s Prime Minister, Theresa May, called Russia’s actions in support of Syria’s Assad “sickening atrocities.”
The Royal Navy is no stranger to run-ins with Russia’s fleet, as tensions between Russia and the West mount and as Russian submarine activity spikes to its highest level since the Cold War.
Norwegian navy ships photographed the aircraft aboard the Kuznetsov taking off, in apparent practice for their upcoming carrier-based strikes against Aleppo.
The pictures do not indicate conclusively whether or not the customary tugboat sails alongside the Kuznetsov, which has been plagued by mechanical troubles in the past.
The Royal Navy’s The Type 45 destroyer HMS Duncan will monitor the group, the Associated Press reports.