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28 Jun, 2023 08:08

Taiwan scrambles jets after Russian warship sighting

Taipei claims that two frigates were sailing close to the self-governing island
Taiwan scrambles jets after Russian warship sighting

Taiwanese navy ships and jets were dispatched to monitor the movements of two Russian frigates which were spotted sailing off the east coast of Taiwan on Tuesday, the defense ministry of the self-governed island has claimed.

Land-based missile systems were also activated, the ministry statement added.

The two frigates were “sailing from south to north in the waters off our eastern coast” as of 11pm local time (3pm GMT), the statement read.

The Russian warships “departed from… a response zone” in a southeasterly direction off the port city of Suao, which hosts a major Taiwanese naval base, according to Taipei. It didn’t say how far from Taiwanese shores the warships were.

Tensions around Taiwan remain high, with Taipei reporting sightings of Chinese ships and planes around the island on a daily basis. Beijing considers Taiwan to be part of its territory under its ‘One China’ policy.

Russia’s Pacific Fleet said on Tuesday that two of its corvettes, the  Gromkiy and Sovershenny respectively, had entered the southern part of the Philippine Sea east of Taiwan to perform tasks as part of a long-range sea passage.

The two ships arrived in the area after making their way through the South China Sea, it added.

Along their route, the vessels regularly conducted maneuvers and exercises, including a simulated naval battle to repel a missile attack from the sea, the Russian navy confirmed.

Earlier this month, Russia’s Pacific Fleet carried out major drills in the Sea of Japan (known in the Koreas as the Eastern Sea) and the Sea of Okhotsk. Some 60 warships and support vessels, 35 naval aircraft, coastal defense troops, and more than 11,000 military personnel took part in the exercises between June 5 and June 20.

The forces involved in the drills performed combat training, practiced tracking submarines, and worked on improving naval air defense organization and logistics support, according to Russia’s Ministry of Defense.