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Engines all! The Russian Navy sails into the Mediterranean

(credit: Russian Navy)
(credit: Russian Navy)

(BRUSSELS2) The Russian Navy is positioning itself and strengthening its positions in the Mediterranean. According to the count made by my friends from Turkishnavy, 8 ships had already crossed the Bosphorus since mid-August: including an intelligence ship, the Priazovie (SSV-201) who must accomplish a special mission for the General Staff; two Ropucha-class landing ships, the Minsk (127) and Novocherkassk (142) have just arrived; thus joining the destroyer Admiral Panteleyev (548), normally attached to the Pacific Fleet and well known to our readers for its participation in anti-piracy missions in the Indian Ocean read: A new group of Russian ships deployed during the summer).

19/08/13 055 BDK-98 Southbound
19/08/13 077 Presvet Southbound
20/08/13 151 Azov Southbound
20/08/13 ? ? Southbound
21/08/13 955 Right Northbound
01/09/13 548 Admiral Panteleyev Southbound
05/09/13 SSV-201 Priazove Southbound
05/09/13 142 Novocharkassk Southbound
05/09/13 127 Minsk Southbound

To this must be added the landing ships Alexander Shabalin (110), Admiral Nevelskoy, and Presvet (077) and the escort ship Neustrashimy (712), who carry out their missions “ online according to the plans of the General Staffgold,” according to a Russian navy spokesperson. And this is not about to stop...

Five other ships

Five other Russian ships should indeed arrive in the area according to Ria Novosti. The first should be, the Smetlivy, a Black Sea Fleet patrol boat, which would leave Sevastopol next week around September 12 or 14. He follows the Nikolai Filchenkov, a landing ship, which has already left its home port. Three other ships are in preparation according to a Russian navy official, cited by the official agency: the guided missile cruiser Moscow (121), due to arrive in the Mediterranean on September 17, the missile launcher Ivanovets (954) and the missile ship Chtil which should arrive towards the end of September.

An extraordinary peak in a presence that is becoming habitual

According to pinboard daily report drawn up by Turkish bloggers, we see that this activity is not extraordinary, the passage of Russian ships through the Dardanelles Strait is regular. We also remember the exercise which took place in January of this year, bringing together around ten ships (Moskva, Severomorsk, Smetlivy, Yaroslav Moudry, Saratov, Azov, Kaliningrad, Alexandre Chabaline…) not to mention aviation and logistics. A sort of dress rehearsal. Simply, the accumulation of passages in one direction is unusual today.

Comments : The Russian navy is thus on the verge – aided by the Syrian conflict – of reintroducing itself permanently into an area that it had, if not abandoned, at least where it admitted its weakness. Today, there seems no question of leaving Americans, French, British and Germans alone in the zone. Even if these announcements, with a bang, resemble a carefully orchestrated communications maneuver as much as a military campaign.

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).