The Australian Defense Force is monitoring a convoy of Russian warships off the country’s northern coastline in what Prime Minister Tony Abbott has deemed an “unusual” situation.
The Russian convoy has been tracked for over a week in international waters, but the decision to send the ships to the region comes just weeks after Mr. Abbot said he would confront Russian President Vladimir Putin about Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was shot down July 17 over eastern Ukraine.
Pro-Russian separatists suspected in the attack continue to deny responsibility for shooting down the airliner. All 289 individuals on board were killed.
“Unusual, not entirely unprecedented, but unusual. … Let’s not forget that Russia has been much more militarily assertive in recent times,” Mr. Abbot said, The Telegraph reported Thursday.
The Russian embassy in Canberra said the deployment was “not directly related to Australia,” the paper reported.
Russia’s military muscle-flexing is not constrained to naval operations.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Wednesday that the nation plans on sending bombers on “reconnaissance missions” to the Gulf of Mexico.
“In the current situation we have to maintain military presence in the western Atlantic and eastern Pacific, as well as the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico,” Mr. Shoigu said from Moscow, The Associated Press reported.
NATO has also reported an uptick in Russian maneuvers that buzz European airspace.
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