Russian navy ‘forced Dutch submarine to stop spying on aircraft carrier bound for Syria’

Steve White — Daily Mirror Nov 11, 2016

dutch-walrus-sub-the-admiral-kuznetsov-and-vice-admiral-kulakov

A Dutch Walrus submarine (far left) was involved together with the Russian ships the Admiral Kuznetsov (centre) and the Admiral Kulakov (right). Click to enlarge

Russia has claimed two of its navy destroyers forced away a Dutch submarine to stop it spying on their aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean.

The defence ministry say the sub was just 12 miles from the Admiral Kuznetsov at the time of the incident.

Russia sent a flotilla to the eastern Mediterranean ahead of an expected resumption of air strikes in Syria .

The fleet sailed through the English Channel observed by Royal Navy ships with Nato monitoring the situation in a “measured and responsible way”.

An official said the Western military alliance would not go into details but said it had been observing the fleet for some weeks.

The Russian flotilla’s voyage from Severomorsk in northern Russia, through the North Sea and the English Channel and into the Mediterranean, has rung alarm bells among Nato allies.

There was no confirmation of the Russian military’s claim of an incident and the Dutch military said it would give no comment on submarine operations.

It was also not immediately clear where the incident took place.

One report placed the Admiral Kuznetsov around 62 miles north-west of the Syrian port of Latakia.

The Admiral Kuznetsov travelled to the Med with a nuclear-powered battle cruiser, two anti-submarine warships and four support vessels

Russian defence spokesman Igor Konashenkov said that two anti-submarine ships, Severomorsk and Vice-Admiral Kulakov, had “easily identified the submarine 20km away using the standard onboard hydro-acoustics systems and data obtained from anti-submarine helicopters”.

Although the sub had tried to evade surveillance, the ships tracked it for more than an hour and “forced it to leave the area of the aircraft carrier-led group”, he said, condemning the Dutch sub’s manoeuvres as “clumsy and dangerous”.

The 1,000 foot long Admiral Kuznetsov launched in 1990 can carry up to 50 aircraft – jets and helicopters – and is also heavily armed with 200 anti-ship surface-to-surface missiles and surface-to-air missiles.

The Russian flotilla is supporting Russian air operations against rebels in Syria.

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