Russia: Britain Had Better Tend to Its Naval Shortcomings

Russia: Britain Had Better Tend to Its Naval Shortcomings
Fri Jan 27, 2017 12:16:08

Russia has reacted to recent anti-Moscow remarks by the UK defense minister, saying such talk is meant to divert attention away from the scandalous shortcomings of the British navy.

The Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement on Thursday that the British government was staging a show by dispatching air force jets and a navy frigate to escort Russia’s Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier and accompanying vessels through the English Channel on Wednesday.

The Russian Northern Fleet carrier group led by the aircraft carrier was returning from a mission off Syria to its base in northern Russia. In unministerial remarks, British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon described the Russian carrier as a “ship of shame,” apparently because of its participation in operations against Western-backed militants in Syria.

On Thursday, RT cited Igor Konashenkov, a spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry, as saying, “The aim of such statements and of staging a show by escorting our ships, is to distract the British taxpayers from the real state in which the Royal Navy is.”

British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon (photo by AFP)

“First, the Russian military fleet doesn’t need senseless escort services — they know their navigating channel and course,” Konashenkov said. “Second, we would recommend that Fallon pay more attention to the British Navy, all the more because there is every indication to believe he should do so.”

Konashenkov was referring to Sunday media reports of a failed UK missile test back in June last year, which reportedly sent a British nuclear-capable missile toward the United States by mistake, according to leaked CIA documents. The nuclear warhead had to self-destruct in mid-air off the US coast.

Fallon refused to reveal the details of the incident or even confirm it during a grilling session in the parliament. British lawmakers have accused him of keeping them in the dark over the incident.

While the British government has admitted that Prime Minster Theresa May was informed of the situation when she took office in July, May herself has also declined to reveal what she knew about the incident.

Russia has been conducting an aerial campaign against extremist militants in Syria. Together with Iran and Turkey, it has also been involved in efforts to bring the Damascus government and opposition together to find a political solution to the crisis in the Arab country. Anti-Damascus militants, including those supported by the UK, have faced increasing battlefield losses in recent months.

S/SH 11

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