Russian fleet in the Mediterranean

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This article is about the high-noon stand-off between Russia and the U.S. in 2013. For the current situation, see Russian deployment in Syria#Naval deployment
Russian, American, British and French naval units in the Eastern Mediterranean on August 31, 2013
Situation around 6 September 2013

Standoff in 2013

2012

August 2013

September 2013

November 2013

The flagship of Russia’s Pacific Fleet, Varyag, and the country’s most powerful nuclear-powered battleship, Pyotr Veliky, entered the Mediterranean Sea on Saturday.

The flagships of all of Russia's ocean fleets, the Northern, the Pacific and the Black Sea are now in the Mediterranean. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 09:01, 3 November 2013 (UTC)

January 2014

Russia and China have agreed to conduct a joint naval drill in the Mediterranean Sea, a Russian media report cites the Defense Ministry. The countries’ fleets are currently involved in an intl operation to escort the Syrian chemical weapons stockpile.

2015

  • Can Russia Block Regime Change In Syria Again? - australianvoice, 2015-08-09
    So why didn’t the US and France attack Syria? It seems obvious that the Russians and Chinese simply explained that an attack on Syria by US and French forces would be met by a Russian/Chinese attack on US and French warships. Obama wisely decided not to start WW III in September 2013.
  • One Way No More: NATO Rings Alarm Over Russia’s Might in Mediterranean - Sputnik, October 21, 2015
    “We have to be prepared for Russia to be [in Syria] as a factor for a long time,” the newspaper quotes Alexander Vershbow, NATO’s deputy secretary-general as saying. He especially noted what he referred to as “Moscow’s permanent, disruptive presence south of the Bosphorus”.
    “[We have to] think about the broader consequences of this build up in the Eastern Mediterranean and the capacity of these airbases,” he said. What sparks even more alarm is that “Russia’s renewed presence” apparently “threatens to restrict the freedom of navigation”, which allows NATO “to quickly and easily deploy military assets”.
    For the US, for example, it could complicate its ability to readily project naval power into the Gulf, the newspaper says. “It would have made a NATO decision to intervene in the Libyan conflict in 2011 far more difficult to plan.”
  • Russia deployed Moskva ship with S-300 "Fort" anti-aircraft system. While Turkey deployed two submarines to watch over Moskva...

What is the mission?

What are Putin's secret orders to the fleet?

“The task is crystal clear: to avoid a slightest threat to the security of the state. This is a general practice of all fleets around the world, to be there when a tension level increases. They are all going to act on operational command plan of the offshore maritime zone,” Chirkov told journalists on Friday. "Russia will be building up its Mediterranean fleet until it is deemed sufficient to perform the task set."

I think this is the clearest statement yet, that Russia is prepared to start a shooting war with US and sink any ship involved in illegal aggression. -- Petri Krohn (talk) 10:16, 13 September 2013 (UTC)

Nuclear warheads

“Disparity in high-tech naval warfare capabilities between the U.S. and Russian fleets is no guarantee that an attack on Syria will not escalate into a wider war that includes Russia,” according to a report of the open source intelligence entity Langley Intelligence Group Network, or Lignet.
“Russian military doctrine has a solution for any technological advantages enjoyed by U.S. forces: striking first,” the Lignet report said. “Indeed, the Russian military doctrine of ‘de-escalation’ calls for prevailing in and terminating a regional conflict by the early use of nuclear weapons to defeat the adversary – usually the United States, in military writings – and to cow the enemy into submission by this Russian version of ‘shock and awe,’” the report said.
Sources say that some of the Russian warships deployed to Syria have tactical nuclear weapons, although the U.S. has dismantled its tactical nuclear weapons.
For example, the Moskva guided-missile cruiser heading to Syria carries 16 surface-to-surface N-12 cruise missiles, each of which carries a 350-kiloton warhead, sources say.
“A Russian navy armed with nuclear weapons is more than a match for a U.S. Navy with no nuclear weapons, especially if the United States is lulled into complacency by the false calculus that high technology equals invulnerability,” the report added.

I do not think Russia would need nuclear warheads to sink or destroy the US fleet. Sinking US aircraft carriers is what the Soviet Navy was designed to do. The tactical nukes are there not for offence, but for defense – in case the US Navy tries to counter attack. The presence of the nukes gives the Russia the backbone whereby they can launch offensive action against the US, even if the US fleet may seem bigger and more powerful.

P.S. – Wikipedia claims that "currently only the conventional version [of the P-500 Bazalt] remains in service" -- Petri Krohn (talk) 09:40, 11 September 2013 (UTC)

Speculation

The ex-CIA analyst, Ray McGovern, even said that such a staged attack on US destroyers at the coast of Syria could already happen in the upcoming days. This would underline the fears and predictions of other political analysts and experts in the events in the Middle East and developments of such planned wars.

Nato attack

On Aug. 31, French Rafale warplanes were hours away from taking off to launch cruise missiles against Syria when U.S. President Barack Obama called off the joint strike.

Who canceled the order?

The last NATO politician to foolishly talk about red lines was US President Barack Obama in Syria in 2013 and that nearly landed the US in a Middle East conflagration so dangerous that his own generals reportedly threatened to resign.
  • According to Shoigu, 624 cruise missiles were on 24 hours readiness to launch (in 2013, in addition to unspecified number of other weapons), however Russian president managed to convince (not to do it) and realized a plan on turning in and destruction of chemical weapons-RIA Novosti, 15 Aug., 2016 --Resup (talk) 13:38, 15 August 2016 (UTC)

Israeli missiles?

  • Missiles launched in Mediterranean towards Syrian coast, claims Russian defence ministry - The Telegraph, September 3, 2013
    The launches took place at 10:16 am Moscow time (0616 GMT) and were detected by the ballistic missile early warning system in Armavir in southern Russia, the defence ministry said in a statement quoted by Russian news agencies. Shortly after 11am, Israel announced that it had carried out a joint missile test with the US in the Mediterranean, using a missile designed to shoot down incoming missiles.

Russian deployment in 2015

Main article: Russian deployment in Syria#Naval deployment

Putin's new orders

Putin gives new orders after the ISIS attack on Paris:

  • Putin Orders MoD to Cooperate With French Naval Group - Sputnik, November 17, 2015
  • Meeting on Russia’s Armed Forces actions in Syria - Kremlin.ru, November 17, 2015
    Vladimir Putin: Mr Krivorog, a French naval group will soon approach your area, headed by an aircraft carrier. You need to establish direct contact with them and work together as allies.
    The General Chief of Staff and the Defence Minister have already received appropriate instructions. You will have to develop a joint plan of action with them both in the air and at sea.
    Thank you.
AN 124 landed in Syria-report, photos, video. The purpose is presented as humanitarian, bringing supplies to set up a refugee camp for up to 2000 people. (Separate reports confirmed military supplies, on a long-term, normal basis). The mission is presented as involving Iran ("Russian and Iranian military will jointly guard and protect refugee camp" -Rusvesna, and 'in the future, the operation may involve China', following a request made by Syrian government. --Resup (talk) 21:07, 12 September 2015 (UTC)
  • Russia's Black Sea Fleet may be used in Syria to blockade the Syrian coastline and deliver armaments, as well as possibly deliver artillery strikes, the head of Russian State Duma's defense committee and former Black Sea Fleet commander Vladimir Komoyedov said.

2016

"Admiral Kuznetsov" and "Pyotr Velikii" on the raid in Severomorsk are preparing for departure to the Syrian coast, October 14, 2016.