Russia continues to make known its worldwide military presence as a group of its warships entered the English Channel on Friday.
According to the Russian defense ministry, the ships had been conducting training in the North Sea since Nov. 20, and, upon encountering poor weather, decided to anchor the destroyer, landing craft, rescue tugboat and tank ship in international waters off the coast of France, in the Bay of the Seine, reported The Associated Press.
The Russian Northern Fleet released a statement to the Russian news agency RIA Novosti saying that the vessels were led by the Severomorsk destroyer and were anchored, waiting for a storm to pass.
"While it is anchored, the crew will perform a series of exercises on combating infilitrating submarine forces," the statement said.
But a Nato spokesperson maintained that the ships "are not exercising in the channel, "as some Russian headlines would have us believe," reported BBC.
Under international law, the Russian ships have the right to pass through the Dover Straight, according to the British defense ministry, who sent a Royal Navy warship to escort the Russian fleet, reported the AP.
German Defense Ministry spokesperson Lt. Col. Uwe Roth told the AP that the situation does not appear to "constitute a special situation."
A recent think tank report showed that since the Russian takeover of Crimea, and its general involvement in Ukraine, Russain-NATO military encounters have sharply risen, including instances of airspace violations and close sea encounters.
Earlier in November, it was reported that Russia was planning to fly bomber patrols over the Gulf of Mexico, and in September, two U.S. jets intercepted six Russian planes that came close to U.S. airspace off the coast of Alaska. Canadian planes also intercepted two Russian bombers close to Canadian airspace, according to NORAD.
Sweden reported in October that it had discovered a foreign submarine in its waters, just outside of Stockholm, and while Russia denied it was their vessel, many suspect it was indeed Russian.