(PHOTO): Russian warships nearing Australia

Australia says it is monitoring four Russian naval vessels that are approaching its waters to the north of the country..

The Australian Defence Force said two frigates and a surveillance aircraft had been sent to track the warships.

In a statement, it said the Russian vessels were heading towards Australia but remained in international waters.

Analysts say it is a show of force by Russian President Vladimir Putin ahead of the G20 summit in Brisbane.

"The movement of these vessels is entirely consistent with provisions under international law for military vessels to exercise freedom of navigation in international waters," the ADF statement read.

The ADF said Russian naval vessels have previously been deployed in conjunction with major international summits, including the Apec summit in Singapore in 2009.

"A warship from Russia's Pacific fleet also accompanied former Russian president Medvedev's visit to San Francisco in 2010," the statement added.

Mr Putin is due in Australia this weekend to attend the G20 summit.


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