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Russia Resumes its Naval Presence in the World Oceans
December 7, 2007 19:03

Russia's Navy has resumed its continual presence in different regions of the world's oceans since December 5, 2007. The expedition to the northern Atlantic and the Mediterranean Sea is aimed at ensuring a Russia naval presence and establishing conditions for secure Russian navigation.

"There are plans to dispatch ships to the northeast Atlantic and the Mediterranean Sea from now to February 3, 2008. The expedition is aimed at ensuring a naval presence and establishing conditions for secure Russian navigation," announced Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov.

The minister said an aircraft-carrying heavy cruiser Admiral Kuznetsov, two anti-submarine ships and a tanker departed for the Mediterranean on Wednesday, where they will be joined by a Black Sea Fleet missile cruiser Moskva and a tanker Ivan Bubnov.

Cruiser Admiral Kuznetsov

The aircraft-carrying heavy cruiser Admiral Kuznetsov has not put to sea for about fifteen years, during all this time it was mostly being repaired. 51-year old vice admiral Nikolay Maximov headed this naval expedition.

Serdyukov said a total of four warships and seven other vessels of Russia's Northern, Black Sea and Baltic fleets, as well as 47 planes and 10 helicopters, have been dispatched for the mission. Three exercises, involving the vessels and aircraft are being planned. The expedition is to touch at ports of six countries eleven times.

For 71 days the ships are to get over 12 thousand miles.

Earlier this year, naval chief Admiral Vladimir Masorin called for restoring a permanent Russian presence in the Mediterranean, saying it was a vital zone for the Black Sea Fleet.

At the Soviet times, navy ships were based at Syria's Mediterranean port of Tartus, and Russia still maintains a technical base there.

Earlier this year, Russia has resumed regular long-range flights of strategic bombers. In recent years, Russia's bombers have resumed flights to areas off Norway and Iceland, as well as Russia's northeast corner, across the Bering Strait from Alaska several years ago.

Missile cruiser Moskva

Still, it was unclear how much of a presence the Russian ships would have, either in the Mediterranean or elsewhere. Like other branches of military, the navy, particularly its surface fleet, suffered in the aftermath of the Soviet collapse, as a lack of funding resulted in ships and submarines rusting away in docks and berths.

In mid-August, the Russian president announced the resumption of strategic patrol flights, saying that although the country halted long-distance strategic flights to remote regions in 1992 with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the ensuing economic and political chaos, other nations had continued the practice, compromising Russian national security.

Russia's strategic bombers have since carried out over 70 patrol flights over the Pacific, Atlantic, and Arctic oceans, as well as the Black Sea, a senior Air Force official said Tuesday, adding that NATO interceptor aircraft had escorted Russian bombers during all their patrols.


Irina Fomina


Tags: Russia International     

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