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Russian Ships Tracked Off Australia's Coast Ahead Of Putin's Visit


Australia said on November 13 it was tracking four Russian naval vessels off its north coast.

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said Russia is entitled to have ships in international waters but said they were being closely tracked.

The fleet's appearance comes ahead of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s arrival in Brisbane, Australia for the G20 summit on November 15-16.

It also comes amid strained relations over the downing in July of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in pro-Russian separatist-controlled eastern Ukraine.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott initially said he would confront Putin at the G20 summit about the plane's downing, which killed 298 people, including 37 people who called Australia home. He later softened that pledge.

In Beijing on November 11, Abbott demanded an apology from Putin -- saying he had information indicating that the plane was destroyed by a Russian-supplied missile launcher, which returned to Russian territory after being fired.

Based on reporting by AP, AFP, Interfax, and "The Sydney Morning Herald"
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