RUSSIAN warships have been escorted across the English Channel by the Royal Navy amid growing WWIII fears.
The three ships were closely followed by HMS Tyne and HMS Dragon as the west united against the threat.
The Ministry of Defense said: “The Royal Navy ships HMS Tyne and HMS Dragon escorted three Russian warships across the North Sea and English Channel as part of a unified response with allies.
“They have taken over from the Dutch Navy and will switch to the National Navy to continue the escort.”
This follows the Moscow Defense Ministry’s announcement that Vladimir Putin plans to hold naval exercises in the Atlantic, Arctic, Mediterranean and Pacific this month.
Over the next few weeks, war games with Putin’s ally Belarus will include demonstrations of more than 140 warships and support vessels.
The exercise will also include 60 aircraft, 1,000 pieces of military equipment and about 10,000 military personnel, the defense ministry said.
It comes amid growing World War III fears following reports that Moscow has rounded up 100,000 troops with tanks and missile batteries in a bid to invade Ukraine.
New evidence emerged yesterday suggesting troops are massing within striking distance of Kiev.
The forces are in Belarus less than 20 miles from the Ukrainian border, after an increase in troop and equipment movements in recent days from the Russian Far East.
Families of the soldiers expect them to be embroiled in a long war after learning they could be away from home for nine months.
New videos show invasion drills by paratroopers ahead of hastily organized joint “exercises” with Putin’s ally Belarus.
And trains carrying rocket launchers, armored vehicles and communications trucks have been spotted near the Belarusian towns of Gomel and Rechitsa, according to analysis by DFRLab.
Military police – essential during an invasion – are among the forces displaced near Ukraine, reports another study by Radio Liberty and the Conflict Intelligence Team.
Russia said the drills were a response to a military buildup in Poland and Lithuania, which border Ukraine.
Boris Johnson warned it would be a “disaster for the world” if Russia invaded Ukraine and added that “any kind of incursion, on any scale” would be catastrophic.
He spoke as NATO allies tried to deter Putin from an attack the Pentagon calls “imminent”.
Three amphibious assault ships have now crossed the English Channel to reinforce its Black Sea Fleet.
Worryingly, the Independent Conflict Intelligence Team reported that Russian military equipment had been detected in Belarus, 24 miles from Ukraine.
Earlier this month, a Royal Navy warship struck a sunken Russian submarine.
It was the first collision between Russian and Royal Navy ships since the end of the Cold War.