World War 3? Russia Sends Warships Near Australia and Troops to Ukraine, Reports Say

November 12, 2014 Updated: June 24, 2015

Russia is sending warships toward Australia ahead of the G20 meeting, according to Australian media reports on Wednesday. At the same time, NATO has made claims that Russia is deploying troops into eastern Ukraine.

Australian officials have confirmed that the warships are being monitored, and added that the “movement of these vessels is entirely consistent with provisions under international law for military vessels to exercise freedom of navigation in international waters,” reported SMH.com.au. They are presently “transiting through international waters to the north of Australia,” the Australian defense agency stated

Defense Force chief Mark Binskin noted its unusual for Russian warships to travel this, suggesting that the Kremlin is attempting to display its power.

“Their confidence? One of them is an ocean-going tug,” he told the website. “It’s just part of their operation. They are in international waters. They are allowed to do that. They are in our approaches and we will continue to surveil them with air and maritime assets.”

Australian officials noted that Russia sent naval warships ahead of international meetings in the past.

“Russian naval vessels have previously been deployed in conjunction with major international summits, such as the APEC meeting in Singapore in 2009. A warship from Russia’s Pacific Fleet also accompanied former Russian President Medvedev’s visit to San Francisco in 2010,” the Defense Force said.

READ: Russian Bomber Patrols to Reach Gulf of Mexico

In this Wednesday Nov. 5, 2014 photo a Russian Cossack stands on guard at the military base in Perevalsk, Eastern Ukraine. Perevalsk and Alchevsk both participated in a contentious vote in early November to elect separatist deputies and leaders, but it is evident the outcome of the poll means little on the ground. (AP Photo/Mstyslav Chernov)
In this Wednesday Nov. 5, 2014 photo a Russian Cossack stands on guard at the military base in Perevalsk, Eastern Ukraine. Perevalsk and Alchevsk both participated in a contentious vote in early November to elect separatist deputies and leaders, but it is evident the outcome of the poll means little on the ground. (AP Photo/Mstyslav Chernov)

 

A pro-Russian rebel stands guard at a check point not far from Donetsk airport in the city of Donetsk, eastern Ukraine Saturday, Nov. 1, 2014. Fighting intensified in the north of Donetsk between the rebels and government troops ahead of the rebel election on Sunday. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
A pro-Russian rebel stands guard at a check point not far from Donetsk airport in the city of Donetsk, eastern Ukraine Saturday, Nov. 1, 2014. Fighting intensified in the north of Donetsk between the rebels and government troops ahead of the rebel election on Sunday. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

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Meanwhile, NATO said that Russian troops have crossed the border into Ukraine.

“Russian tanks, Russian artillery, Russian air defence systems and Russian combat troops” were sighted, US Gen Philip Breedlove stated Wednesday, according to the BBC.

In response, Russia’s defense ministry denied that its troops were there to help pro-Russian militants. The rebels, however, said they were being helped by Russian “volunteers” but didn’t specifically say the Russian army was helping them.

A Ukrainian flag flies over the traffic control tower of Donetsk Sergey Prokofiev International Airport during an artillery battle between pro-Russian rebels and Ukrainian government forces in the town of Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, Friday, Oct. 17, 2014. Ukraine's president on Friday hailed progress in Europe-brokered talks aimed at ensuring peace with Russia, with agreements nearing on a gas dispute and local elections in the east. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
A Ukrainian flag flies over the traffic control tower of Donetsk Sergey Prokofiev International Airport during an artillery battle between pro-Russian rebels and Ukrainian government forces in the town of Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, Friday, Oct. 17, 2014. Ukraine’s president on Friday hailed progress in Europe-brokered talks aimed at ensuring peace with Russia, with agreements nearing on a gas dispute and local elections in the east. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

Donetsk, the eastern Ukrainian city, was hammered by heavy artillery fire on Wednesday morning, say reports. As the BBC notes, it is not clear where the fire came from.

Russia’s defense minister, Sergei Shoigu, also said that the country’s military will carry out long-range bomber patrols, ranging from the Arctic Ocean to the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico, reported The Associated Press.

NATO has reported an increase in Russian military flights over the Black, Baltic, and North seas as well as over the Atlantic Ocean.

Shoigu said that “in the current situation we have to maintain military presence in the western Atlantic and eastern Pacific, as well as the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico,” per AP.

 NEXT: Photos of the Ukraine Crisis

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