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British Minister Calls Russian Aircraft Carrier 'Ship Of Shame' For Syria Role

Royal Air Force Typhoons monitor Russian warships the Pyotr Veliky and the Admiral Kuznetsov (rear) as they pass near England on January 25.

British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon called Russia's only aircraft carrier "the ship of shame" and sent escorts as it passed the English coast on its way home from bombing raids in Syria.

The British ministry said it deployed Typhoon jets and a frigate to shadow the Admiral Kuznetsov and its support vessels as it sailed through the English Channel to the North Sea on January 25.

"We will keep a close eye on the Admiral Kuznetsov as it skulks back to Russia, a ship of shame whose mission has only extended the suffering of the Syrian people," Fallon said.

"We are man-marking these vessels every step of the way around the U.K. as part of our steadfast commitment to keep Britain safe."

Planes on the aging carrier had been taking part in Russian bombing of rebel forces in Syria's civil war, a campaign that was widely accused in the West of indiscriminately targeting civilians.

Russia criticized the British action.

"Russian military vessels did not require this kind of senseless escort. They know how to find their way through this stretch of sea," said Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov.

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters