A group of four Russian vessels that had entered the English Channel have anchored off the northwestern coast of France.
The Russian Northern Fleet said a storm forced the detachment, led by the Severomorsk destroyer and the Alexander Otrakovsky amphibious landing ship, to take shelter at the Bay of the River Seine.
During its stay, it added, the flotilla will perform exercises on “combating infiltrating submarine forces.”
NATO and the French navy said the ships were not in the Channel to conduct military exercises, but that weather conditions forced the flotilla to find a safe harbor.
A spokeswoman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the transit of the Russian ships "even in international waters, is not really a sign of de-escalation."
NATO has reported increased incursions by Russian military aircraft following months of tension over Ukraine.
Based on reporting by AP and AFP