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Russia wages war of words with Britain over navy pride

Associated Press logo Associated Press 29/06/2017
FILE - In this 2004 file photo the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier sails in the Barents Sea, Russia. Moscow on Thursday, June 29, 2017. Moscow has angrily lashed out at a dismissive comment about a Russian aircraft carrier made by Britain's defense secretary, arguing that its aging ship is better than the new British carrier. (AP Photo/file) © The Associated Press FILE - In this 2004 file photo the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier sails in the Barents Sea, Russia. Moscow on Thursday, June 29, 2017. Moscow has angrily lashed out at a dismissive comment about a Russian aircraft carrier made by Britain's defense secretary, arguing that its aging ship is better than the new British carrier. (AP Photo/file)

MOSCOW — Moscow angrily lashed out Thursday at a dismissive comment about a Russian aircraft carrier made by Britain's defense secretary, arguing that its aging ship is better than the new British carrier.

Defense Secretary Michael Fallon said earlier this week that Russia will look at the British aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, with envy, pointing at Russia's "dilapidated" Admiral Kuznetsov carrier.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov fired back Thursday, arguing that unlike the British ship that relies on escort ships for protection, the Russian carrier can stand by itself with an array of offensive and defensive weapons. He dismissed the British carrier as just a "conveniently large sea target" that should stay close to U.S. protection assets.

The Soviet-built Admiral Kuznetsov, Russia's sole aircraft carrier, visited the eastern Mediterranean last year as part of Russia's campaign in Syria, the first carrier-mounted attacks in Russia's navy history.

While the ship with its turbines exhaling black smoke looks outdated compared to the U.S. nuclear-powered carriers, it allows the Kremlin to project power far away from Russia's shores.

The Admiral Kuznetsov is set to undergo modernization starting next year.

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