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Russia Says Britain's New Aircraft Carrier Is a 'Convenient Target' on the High Seas

A man enjoy the sea and the sun as in the background the Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov lies at anchor off Cyprus’ largest port of Limassol. Pavlos Vrionides / AP

When Britain's shiny new aircraft carrier, the HMS Queen Elizabeth, took to the high seas last week, the country's Royal Navy's were understandably keen to showcase their latest flagship to the world.

In an interview with British newspaper The Telegraph, British Defense Secretary Sir Michael Fallon could barely contain his delight. He also couldn't resist having a dig at the Kremlin and Russia's infamous Admiral Kuznetsov: an aircraft carrier which has garnered a reputation for traversing the high seas through plumes of black smoke.

Fallon declared that the HMS Queen Elizabeth — the largest ship ever built for the British Navy — would "be the envy of the Russians."

“When you saw that old, dilapidated Kuznetsov sailing through the Channel a few months ago, I think the Russians will look at this ship with a little bit of envy.”

Moscow did not hesitate to responsd to Fallon's remarks, with Defense Ministry Spokesperson Major-General Igor Konashenkov blasting his "boastful claims."

"By talking about external beauty of this new aircraft carrier over the Russian Admiral Kuznetsov, Fallon is just demonstrating some rather frank ignorance of naval science," said Konashenkov. 

He described the giant British ship as a "convenient naval target."

"First and foremost, the British vessel is a defacto aircraft carrier, while the Kuznetsov is an aircraft-carrying cruiser," he said. "The British aircraft carrier is able to act as a runway for airplanes, but needs to be surrounded by a swarm of support ships and submarines to defend it.  The Admiral Kuznetsov is armed to the teeth with anti-submarine and anti-ship missiles" he said. 

"In light of this, it's probably in the interests of the British Royal Navy not to flaunt the "beauty" of an aircraft carrier any closer than a few hundred miles [from the Kuznetsov," he said. 

It's not the first time that Fallon has entered into a war of words with Moscow's generals. He branded the beleaguered Russian aircraft carrier as a “ship of shame” in January 2017, accusing the vessel of "prolonging the suffering of the Syrian people."

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