Australian Defence Force vessels and aircraft have completed monitoring a Russian Surface Task Group that was operating in the Coral Sea to Australia’s north. The Russian ships did not enter Australian territorial waters and have now departed the Coral Sea.
The flotilla included Russian Federation Ship (RFS) Varyag, a Slava class guided missile cruiser, RFS Marshal Shaposhnikov, a Udaloy class guided missile destroyer, and two support ships, Boris Butoma and Fotiy Krylov.
The Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Binskin, said that the ADF monitoring activity was conducted professionally and was effective.
We planned and conducted deliberate operations with Royal Australian Air Force AP-3C Orion aircraft and monitored the flotilla with HMA ships Parramatta and Stuart.
HMAS Sirius was positioned to provide logistic support and HMAS Sydney was in the south Queensland area to support G20 and assist with this activity if required.
Russia declared its intention for vessels to travel to southern areas of the Pacific Ocean and their movement was consistent with the provisions under international law for military vessels to exercise freedom of navigation in international waters.
ACM Binskin said the activity was completed professionally by both the Australian and Russian personnel.
We made periodic radio contact with the Russian flotilla and this communication was conducted professionally and courteously by all parties and was consistent with normal maritime communication procedures.
As a matter of normal practice the ADF maintains an awareness of maritime activity in the approaches to Australia and regularly undertakes maritime surveillance patrols in these approaches. The ADF monitored the vessels in accordance with international law.
This activity is consistent with the Russian Federation Navy’s previous maritime movements ahead of major international events.
In 2009, Russian naval vessels were deployed to South East Asia for the APEC Conference in Singapore and in 2010 they were deployed to coincide with former Russian President Medvedev’s visit to San Francisco.
Defence will not provide further details about the conduct of monitoring activities.
Press release, Image: Australian Department of Defence