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Tuesday, October 18, 2016
Vladimir Putin’s nuclear warships pictured steaming towards the English Channel as Royal Navy prepares to scramble fleet
The fearsome fleet is headed for Russia's Mediterranean base in Tartus, Syria.
But first, the ships are
set to pass through the English Channel
in the latest act of sabre-rattling from Moscow.
warships are being readied to intercept the fleet which could pass within miles of the British coast.
Russia's flagship aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov was amongst the ships to depart from the Arctic port of Severomorsk on Saturday.
The 55,000-tonne colossus is travelling with the Pyotr Veliky battlecruiser, the Vice-Admiral Kulakov destroyer and large anti-submarine ships.
The convoy was caught on camera by Norwegian spy planes on Monday.
In addition to safeguarding maritime navigation, the ships are meant to "respond to new types of modern threats like piracy and international terrorism.".
The fleet is expected to carry out drills north of Scotland before sailing just miles from the English coast.
A Nato naval source told
: “It’s not catching us by surprise, we are working up what to do and we are all over it.
"The most likely thing is that they will go through the North Sea, down the Dover Strait and through the Channel.
“They might even stop off the North East coast to fly for a bit.”
The show of strength is the latest act of defiance from Moscow in the face of Western pressure over its bombing campaign in Syria.
Earlier this month
Russia bombers went on a run around Western Europe
, forcing the air forces of four Nato members to scramble their fighter jets.
has been supporting embattled Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad with air strikes.
The bombing of an aid convoy last month
saw a fragile ceasefire disintegrate and put even greater strain on relations between the US and Moscow.
Neighbour Turkey warned yesterday that Syria could become a proxy war
for the two superpowers as they pile weapons and advisers into the Middle East.