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What were a Russian sub and bombers doing near France?

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A file photo of a Russian nuclear submarine. Photo: AFP
16:54 CET+01:00
First it was bomber aircraft, and now there are claims a Russian nuclear sub has been lurking deep in the waters not far from the French coast.

A report in the French press on Thursday claimed a Russian nuclear submarine had been lurking deep in the waters off the west coast of France.

The claim was made the Nouvel Obs news site, quoting a high-ranking government official, and it has not been denied by France's Ministry of Defence.

Apparently the submarine, armed with nuclear warheads, was detected in international waters in the Gulf of Gascony back in January. It was part of the fleet of 11 nuclear submarines based at the naval port of Murmansk.

Although it did not enter French waters, it was apparently the first time since the end of the Cold War that a Russian submarine had come so close to the west coast of Europe.

But it's not just the submarine that appears to be concerning France's military chiefs.

In February, the French fighters jets intercepted two Russian bombers flying off the north coast of France near Touquet.

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French General André Lanata believed the move was a strategic one by Russia to try to reassert the military presence against Nato.

If these kind of events go on, we can imagine a few stern calls from Paris to Moscow in the coming weeks - if they haven't happened already, of course.

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