Russia is expected to sail its only aircraft carrier through the English Channel later this month amid strained relations between London and Moscow over the Syria crisis. Royal Navy chiefs and their Nato allies are drawing up plans to escort up to eight Russian warships which are due to leave port imminently to join the country’s air strike campaign against Syrian rebels.

Admirals believe the Kremlin will use the voyage as an opportunity for a show of strength as it passes Britain, and expect the carrier’s aircraft to launch flying drills off the British and French coasts. The Royal Naval preparations come after Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, this week triggered a diplomatic row by saying he would “like to see demonstrations outside the Russian embassy” in London over Moscow’s role in the ongoing Syrian conflict. FULL REPORT