The ships are within international waters but Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said the UK would ‘be watching as part of our steadfast commitment to keep Britain safe,’ the BBC reports.
But despite the response from the Navy, one Moscow defence expert claimed Vladimir Putin is ready to ‘seize control’ of the Mediterranean and the Atlantic as he boasted about Russia’s sea power while branding the Royal Navy ‘tiny’.
Pyotr Klintsevich, first deputy of Russian senate’s Defence and Security Committee, confirmed the eight-strong flotilla was armed and ready for combat, according to The Daily Mail.
He said: “We understand that such ships are armed, and that they did not just go for a walk with a walking stick.
The fact that today the military ships, including a first-class vessel, go forward – it’s part of combat training tasks.”
Klintsevich added: “The Admiral Kuznetsov and Pyotr Velikiy are able to solve any task anywhere on the planet’s waters.”
Broadcasters have also brazenly claimed that the presence of the Russian fleet has ‘scared’ the Royal Navy.
Putin’s admirals are keen to ramp up the pressure on Britain’s warships by calling in extra assets from the Mediterranean in a mission dubbed ‘Operation Sea Fist’ by the Russian media.
A MOD spokesman said: ‘It is pretty unambiguous that they have set a course to pass through the Dover Strait.’
The Russians are trying to divide the Royal Navy’s efforts to track their fleet by recalling two corvettes from the Mediterranean, the Daily Mail reports, forcing the HMS Dragon to head south from Portsmouth to intercept.