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Tensions between UK and Russia soared over Syria-bound helicopters

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Britain came alarmingly close to a dangerous clash with Moscow when David Cameron was asked to consider giving an order to forcibly board a ship headed towards the English Channel carrying three Russian-made helicopters for delivery to the regime in Syria, it emerged today.

Any seizure would have been carried out by members of the Special Boat Service, SBS, the only military unit authorised to performing opposed embarkations at sea. The helicopters are believed to be the same ones that prompted US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, recently to berate Russia for sending military hardware to Syria.

Officials traveling with the Prime Minister on an official visit to Mexico City yesterday gave the first detailed account of a series of high-level meetings that happened at Whitehall at the end of last week as the authorities tracked the ship, the MV Alead, which was steaming southwards through the North Sea after departing from Leningrad port.

Mr Cameron was briefed on a continuous basis, they said, on the results of a series of meetings of the emergency Cobra committee as the ship approached waters off Dover. Officials said that at that point “all options were on the table” about preventing the ship continuing its voyage towards Syria. They did not deny that those options might have included an armed boarding and seizure of the vessel, an action that surely would have elicited Russian ire.

As the Government consulted with Denmark and the Netherlands on options for stopping it, the ship abruptly turned around on Friday, they said. But by the end of the weekend it was in the Hebrides area and bound westwards apparently on a course to go around Scotland and then south again towards the Straits of Gibraltar.

The crisis only eased, it seems, when an international maritime insurance firm was persuaded to withdraw coverage of the ship and its cargo. At noon on Monday, the ship had turned eastwards again. Yesterday, it was reported to be back in the Baltic seemingly headed back to Russia.

The near-scrape on the seas was raised by Mr Cameron at a bilateral meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Los Cabos G20 summit yesterday, sources said. He directly challenged him about arming the Syrian regime. Mr Putin responded with the assertion that other countries had been arming opposition forces in Syria.

Britain is expected to push the European Union to redraft parts of its arms embargo on Syria to extend it into the area of insurance. The changes would mean that any company found to be selling coverage to vessels bearing arms to Syra would be in violation of the sanctions. They said it would be handled at a foreign ministers council meeting in Brussels next week.

Asked directly if plans were laid to seize the Alead the senior UK official said they had “considered all options”. Officials believe the three helicopters were already owned by the Syrian regime but had been sent to Russia for servicing. Returning them to Syria would have increased the size of its helicopter fleet by 10 per cent. Some air defence weaponry was also thought to be on the Alead.


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  • o

    :-D u.k. you had better watch your ass when evan thinking about fucking aruond with russia in any violent way…lol.they will kick your ass and feed you a shit sandwich as you beg them for for giveness…these fuckers are by far stronger than the natzis ever where…lol what was you thinking :roll: the u.k. is no where near as strong as russia…talking about taking knife to a gun fight :-D shit ,the u.s. evan get schooled by the russians ever now and agan…..lol the queen thinks she’s got a bag of bastards now scence she ‘s never seen anyone that could challange her will…lol who dose she think she is any more but a war mongering #$%&* not only would russia whip your ass for trying to steal whats not yours …the thrones home would probly cease to exsist :-D

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    • usuck

      You are an embarrassment to the US, your grammar, spelling and punctuation makes you look like a middle school dropout. Do us all a favor and get your GED and read a few books before commenting under the American flag.

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    • Nexus789

      A numpty from the US trying to string words together. Unsuccessfully I would add.

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      • usuck2

        2 cents from a British reject

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  • im for syria and iran also

    Talking about an embarrssment,any one who thinks the u.s. the u.k. and nato are nothing but a bunch of thugs and war mongers realr need an education …take out the throne,nato the zionist there would be peace on earth….i totally agree with O, u.k what was you thinking,you are realy nothing more than a bumb in the way of a bull rhino charging at a tiny ant….the u.k. realy don’t want to start any trouble with russia,it would be like william wallace on steroids whippining the britts ass again.
    And to usuck,it’ sounds like you are very young and uneducated your self…i guess you are one of those people who don’t belive the uss lyberty was attacked by the zionist bastards under order of a standing u.s. president to blame it on egypt as a pretext to war….dude go read,study things out because you have just been made a fool of by some one who cant spell but has done there home work…now thats funny.Sory to all you britts but you are truly no match for russia ,and you had better tell your countrys reps, that you like life the way it is,and wish it to remain so.Thanks O for the entertaing facts put in a very red neck way.

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  • dangelo

    Britta, US, Nato a bunch of hypocrates. Always trying to blackmail Russia and or China. As for u usuck and Nexus, it takes a English language beginner to understand what o is is saying. But because you all are fish-scaled by your pitiful hypocracy u purpot not to understand him and rather lament on his English. By the way not every one writing here must be perfect in English mind u.
    Lets go into a bet. If ever Britts fucks around with Russia they will be miserably battered.
    You Americans , britts and Nato are hypocrates. We know what ur intentions are. You have succeeded in Libya removing your all time enemy. You claimed he is a dictator. However, it is the same u guys supporting the francophone dictators all over west Africa. But because they are licking your asses you dont mind their dictatorship. You mind so much about Libya because the leader was not ready to lick your asses and give u free oil.
    And u have the gods to come here and say o is an embarrasment to the US when indeed US itself is an embarrasment to its citizens. Shame on you all.
    I was very glad to see France and Britain fucked out of the Euro competition.
    Bunch of idiots

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