Russia recently demonstrated its growing naval prowess with the deployment of a task group to join the combat mission in war-torn Syria, with the fleet going through the English Channel, shadowed by the Royal Navy warship.
The Northern Fleet group, comprising ageing Soviet-era tonnage, was led by the ‘aircraft-carrying heavy cruiser’ Admiral Kuznetsov. It was the vessel’s eighth such deployment to the Mediterranean, but the first ever combat operation for her and the embarked MiG-29K fighter aircraft.
She was accompanied by the nuclear-powered cruiser Pyotr Vellikiy, the destroyers Severomorsk and Vitse-Admiral Kulakov, four support vessels and, no doubt, at least one nuclear-powered attack submarine.
The group was expected to join up with new frigates from the Black Sea Fleet and a handful of other warships already on station in what is Russia’s largest surface deployment since the end of the Cold War.
Aside from gaining useful experience in conducting expeditionary operations, the surge in naval activity is regarded by some as a political posturing. Russia has already shown it has considerable firepower, with warships firing cruise missiles at land targets from both the Caspian Sea and the Mediterranean.
Thanks to www.dover-marina.com for the gallery of images.