Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense reported the presence of two Russian warships off its eastern coast on Tuesday, prompting the dispatch of Taiwanese aircraft and ships to monitor the vessels’ movements. While no specific details were given regarding the distance of the frigates from the island, the Russian warships were observed sailing from south to north in the waters off Taiwan’s eastern coast.
The Ministry of National Defense confirmed the presence of the Russian warships but did not provide specific details regarding their location or purpose for being near Taiwan’s waters. The discovery comes amid ongoing territorial disputes and military posturing in the Asia-Pacific region.
The warships were later reported to have left Taiwan’s response zone, moving southeast outside the city of Suao, which is home to a significant Taiwanese naval station.
Taiwan, a self-governing territory, has long faced increasing pressure from mainland China, which considers the island as a renegade province and seeks to assert its authority over it. The near-daily presence of Chinese vessels and aircraft operating around Taiwan has become a regular occurrence. However, the presence of Russian warships near the island is considered more unusual and has captured international attention.
The incident comes at a time when Taiwan, along with the United States, Japan, and South Korea, imposed wide-ranging sanctions on Russia in response to its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
Meanwhile, according to Russia’s Interfax news agency, a group of ships from the Russian Pacific Fleet entered the southern parts of the Philippine Sea after crossing the South China Sea. The Russian warships were reportedly engaged in a long-range sea crossing, which included simulated naval battle exercises to repel a simulated enemy’s missile attack from the sea.
The presence of Russian warships near Taiwan’s waters signifies a further complication in an already tense geopolitical landscape. While Taiwan is a self-governed democratic territory, China claims the island as its own and has not ruled out the use of force to achieve reunification.
The United States and other regional powers have expressed support for Taiwan’s autonomy and have increased their strategic presence in the area in response to China’s assertiveness.