A Belgian frigate escorted an imposing Russian fleet of eight vessels, including the only Russian aircraft carrier in service, for two days in the North Sea, amid a spat between Brussels and Moscow over an air raid in Syria, military sources disclosed on Friday. The fleet, which left Russia last Saturday bound for the Mediterranean Sea, passed on Friday about 30 to 40 km from the coast of Belgium, remaining outside Belgian territorial waters.
The Belgian frigate Léopold 1 shadowed the Russian vessels for two days after leaving a NATO force in which it had been deployed, a military source stated.
The Russian fleet was the most impressive one to sail off Belgium’s coast in at least twenty years, according to an officer of the marine. It included the Admiral Kouznetsov aircraft carrier, the Piotr Veliki cruiser, the Vice Admiral Koulakov warship, and sub-marines. The aircraft-carrier, a boat 305 metres long, carried Sukhoi Su-33 and MiG-29 fighter jets, along with attack helicopters.
The Russian aircraft carrier sailed past the English port of Dover at around 11 am. on Friday, and had begun sailing through the English channel, according to French media.