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LONDON (Reuters) - British armed forces escorted a Russian aircraft carrier dubbed "the ship of shame" by Defence Secretary Michael Fallon as it passed through waters close to the English coast on its way back from bombing raids in Syria.

Images released by the British defence ministry showed RAF Typhoon jets and the Royal Navy's HMS St. Albans frigate escorting the Admiral Kuznetsov and its support vessels in the English Channel on Wednesday as they headed towards the North Sea.

"We will keep a close eye on the Admiral Kuznetsov as it skulks back to Russia; a ship of shame whose mission has only extended the suffering of the Syrian people," said Fallon in a statement.

"We are man-marking these vessels every step of the way around the UK as part of our steadfast commitment to keep Britain safe," he added.

Planes on the ageing carrier had been taking part in Russian bombing of rebel forces in Syria's civil war, a campaign which was widely accused in the West of indiscriminately targeting civilians.

The Kuznetsov, Russia's only aircraft carrier, had passed through the English Channel on its way to Syria last October.

(Reporting by Ritvik Carvalho; editing by Stephen Addison)

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