The Australian defence ministry is tracking a fleet of Russia warships sailing in international waters near its coast.

It is believed the vessels, currently in the Coral Sea near Papua New Guinea, could be heading to Brisbane for next week’s G20 summit, which Vladimir Putin will attend.

Australian P3 Orion surveillance planes have been deployed to monitor the ships, along with a naval frigate, the HMAS Stuart.

Russia’s Pacific flagship, the Varyag, is leading the contingent south, accompanied by destroyer Marshal Shaposhnikov and one of the world’s most powerful tugs, the Fotiy Krylov.

A supply tanker called Boris Butoma is accompanying them towards Australia’s east coast.

A spokesperson for the Australian Defence Force told Sky News that Russian ships have been sent to international events before, including the 2009 Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (Apec) summit in Singapore and the former President Dmitry Medvedev’s visit to San Francisco in 2010.

He added: “The movement of these vessels is entirely consistent with provisions under international law for military vessels to exercise freedom of navigation in international waters.

“Defence regularly undertakes maritime surveillance patrols in the approaches to Australia.”… see more

source: independent UK