7 Apr 2013 Leave a comment
The Russians are really stretching their forces and their lines of communication to help a friend in need. The Syrian president Mr. Assad needs Russian protection and weapons to exist. And Russia is using every available means to support him even this support means to dispatch a group of warships from the other half of the earth.
The Russian Defence Ministry announced on 5th April 2013 Friday that a unit of Pacific Fleet ships are on their way to the Mediterranean in compliance with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu’s decision on keeping a permanent naval group in this region.
At the present time, a unit including the Admiral Panteleyev anti-submarine ship, the Peresvet and the Admiral Nevelskoi landing ships, the Pechenga tanker, and the Fotiy Krylov rescue towboat has left the South China Sea. The unit currently keeps moving toward the Suez Canal, which it plans to pass through in mid-May this year,” the ministry said. The cruise plan envisions calls at foreign ports for replenishing the stocks and rest time for the crew, it said.
It is not clear when the Russian task force composed of 6 ships left their home base in Vladivostok. But I assume it was shortly after the announcement of the decision to send Russian ships to the Mediterranean on March 11 by Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu. The ships are expected to pass the Suez Canal in mid May. The task force passed the Strait of Malacca and entered the Indian Ocean, a Pacific Fleet spokesman told RIA Novosti on Saturday. The amphibious ships of the task force are carrying unspecified cargo which will be unloaded at Tartus Syria, when the Russian ships will conduct a port visit.
It is absolutely a very long deployment and an excellent show of flag and solidarity with Assad from the Russian side. But with out doubt this deployment will take a considerable toll on the equipment and the crew.
The deployment of the Pacific Fleets ships to the Mediterranean means:
- The ships of the Black Sea and Baltic fleets, especially the large landing ships of Alligator and Ropucha class are exhausted from their commuting between Russia and Syria since December 2012 and are currently unavailable
- The unspecified cargo the amphibious ships are transporting cannot be carried by civilian ships
- Russia will do its uttermost to keep Assad in place
- These ships will not pass through the Turkish Straits and I won’t be able to take photos of them