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The Daily Mirror of the Great Britain

Putin declares war on pirates: Russian navy sends hijackers packing in rapid counter-swipe

The vessel MSC Lucia was reportedly boarded by an unknown number of attackers in the Gulf of Guinea, off the coast of Nigeria. The seizure of Panama-flagged vessel MSC Lucia was halted by Russian Navy destroyer, according to reports.

The Russian Ministry of Defense announced on Monday that the anti-submarine ship, Udaloy-class destroyer Vice-Admiral Kulakov, received a distress signal from MSC Lucia as it sailed into the Gulf of Guinea between Togo and Cameroon in West Africa.

Armed hijackers had reportedly approached the ship with a small speedboat and boarded as the crew hid in the engine room.

Maritime monitors, including Dryad Global, said the incident took place 86 nautical miles southwest of the Agbami Terminal.

The location is part of Nigeria’s offshore oil-rich Agbami Field.

MSC Lucia, which is owned by the Mediterranean Shipping Company, failed to report its position off the coast of Brass, according to MarineTraffic.

The news comes after last week, President Putin, 69, said the Western-backed military development of Ukraine posed a threat to Russia.

The comments followed two days after the US defence secretary Lloyd Austin staged a show of support for Kyiv and encouraged its aspiration to join NATO.

Putin spoke to journalists and Russian experts about Mr Austin’s visit to Ukraine, when he said no third country could have the right to veto the country’s hoped NATO membership, which had paved the way for Kyiv to join.

READ MORE: Putin and Xi Jinping in stark warning to West with joint naval patrol

President Putin has been serving as the current President of Russia since 2012. He was previously in office from 1999 until 2008.