Russian, British Forces Foil Pirates

MOGADISHU, Somalia — Russian and British forces repelled a pirate attack off Somalia in the first action by a Russian warship sent to bolster international forces fighting a scourge of hijackings in coastal waters vital to global commerce, the two nations' militaries said Wednesday.

Navy spokesman Igor Dygalo said the Russian missile frigate Neustrashimy and the British frigate Cumberland each sent up a helicopter and foiled pirates trying to take over a Danish cargo vessel.

"The pirates tried to hit the ship with automatic weapons fire and made several attempts to seize it," Dygalo said on Vesti-24 state television.

The Russian Navy sent the Neustrashimy to protect Russian ships and crew off Somalia's coast after a Ukrainian freighter with several Russians aboard was hijacked in September.

The Navy said the Neustrashimy was escorting the Danish ship CEC Commander, whose crew includes 15 Russians, after an official request from its operator following pirate attacks that claimed another of the company's ships.

It was not immediately clear exactly where the Russian-British action on Tuesday took place.