Russia’s Northern Fleet to keep presence in various parts of World Ocean


January 09, 14:05 UTC+3 MURMANSK
The Northern Fleet’s warships performed several long-distance voyages in the Mediterranean Sea last year

© AP Photo

MURMANSK, January 9. /TASS/. Russia’s Northern Fleet will continue missions in various parts of the World Ocean, including in the Mediterranean Sea, the Fleet’s press office reported on Monday.

“In 2017, the Northern Fleet will continue performing missions to protect the economic and political interests of the Russian Federation in various parts of the World Ocean, including in the Mediterranean basin,” the press office said in a statement.

The Arctic will remain a priority area of operations for the Northern Fleet’s Unified Strategic Command. The Fleet will carry out a number of Arctic voyages and conduct various tactical exercises with the involvement of units based on Arctic islands, the statement said.

Besides, drills have been scheduled for this year to practice rescue operations and ensure security of Russia’s coastal and island territories, the press office said.

The Northern Fleet’s warships performed several long-distance voyages in the Mediterranean Sea in 2016. The biggest mission by its scope started in September when the naval task group led by the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov set off for that region.


Visit to Beijing by US Admiral to Seek Calm Amid Storm Over South China Sea

Adm. John Richardson delivers remarks during the commissioning ceremony of the Virginia-class attack submarine USS John Warner (SSN 785) at Naval Station Norfolk.


US Chief of Operations Admiral John Richardson will visit China next week to promote smooth sailing in encounters between US and Chinese warships in South China Sea, according to the US Navy.

WASHINGTON             US Chief of Operations Admiral John Richardson will visit China next week to promote smooth sailing in encounters between US and Chinese warships despite the two countries’ disagreements over who owns the South China Sea, the US Navy announced in a press release.

“The goal of the three-day visit to Beijing and Qingdao is to improve mutual understanding and encourage professional interaction between the two navies,” the release stated on Thursday.

Talks between Richardson and People’s Liberation Army Commander Admiral Wu Shengli will include the South China Sea, the ongoing Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise and future opportunities for the two navies to operate together.

Beijing claims ownership of more than 90 percent of the South China Sea, a vital international waterway through which more than half of global commercial shipping passes.

Earlier on Thursday, two Chinese aircraft landed on artificial islands near the Philippines and blocked a Filipino boat from approaching a contested shoal, according to press reports from the region.

China’s action marked the latest show of defiance against an international tribunal ruling earlier in the week that Beijing’s territorial claims were baseless.

US and Chinese warships frequently meet in tense encounters in the South China Sea during US-led exercises that are intended to defy Beijing’s claim by emphasizing the waterway’s international status.

Indian Military Ships Arrive in Vladivostok on Unofficial Visit

Warships of Indian Navy welcomed in Vladivostok


The Indian warships have arrived in the Russia’s Far East city of Vladivostok on an unofficial visit, the Russian Eastern Military District’s press service said Monday.

MOSCOW     The Indian military ships have arrived in the Russia’s Far East city of Vladivostok on an unofficial visit, where they will be staying for four days, the Russian Eastern Military District’s press service said Monday.

“Today a group of ships of the Indian Navy arrived in Vladivostok on an unofficial visit,” district’s spokesman Igor Maiborodov said.

Indian sailors were met with repeated salute by the Pacific Fleet command, the honor guard company and orchestra of the headquarters of the Pacific Fleet.

The sides pointed out the increased communications between the countries’ fleets.

The Indian delegation is set to lay wreathes to the eternal flame at the memorial complex of Military Honor of Pacific Fleet, participate in sport competitions with their Russian counterparts and take part in a number of cultural events.

Bulgaria Rejects NATO Fleet in the Black Sea, Romania Hurriedly Backs Off

An anti-submarine rocket blasts off a rocket launcher from the Bulgarian navy frigate Drazki during the BREEZE 2014 military drill in the Black Sea on July 11, 2014


Bulgaria’s prime minister firmly ruled out his country’s participation in the proposed NATO fleet in the Black Sea aimed at countering Russian forces in the area: “I don’t need war,” the politician said after Russia promised a response; meanwhile Romania’s president, one of the initiators, has hurriedly backed off.

“I always say that I want the Black Sea to see sailboats, yachts, large boats with tourists and not become an arena of military action… I do not need a war in the Black Sea,” Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov said on Thursday referring to the proposal for the NATO fleet in the Black Sea made by Romanian President Klaus Iohannis while visiting Bulgaria on June 15-16.

“Our country will not become part of the Black Sea fleet being prepared against Russia,” Borissov said as quoted by website.

“To send warships as a fleet against Russian ships exceeds the limit of what I can allow,” Borissov told reporters in Sofia on Thursday, as cited by Bloomberg.

“To deploy destroyers, aircraft carriers near [the resort cities of] Bourgas or Varna during the tourist season is unacceptable.”

Klaus Iohannis has quickly backed off, insisting that “the Black Sea naval initiative regards joint training and exercises and that NATO cannot and does not want to keep a fleet in the Black Sea,” Romanian news agency Agerpres reported on Thursday.

“The initiative I introduced to the Bulgarian President and Prime Minister is an initiative designed for cooperation in the area of joint exercises and joint training of the Romanian, Bulgarian and Turkish naval forces. This is the so-called naval initiative, and it does not comprise all naval forces, just joint exercises and training,” the agency quotes the Romanian leader as saying in response to recent statements by the Bulgarian prime minister.

The Romanian president apparently said that “the initiative should be deployed under the NATO umbrella, because all the three Black Sea countries — Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey — are NATO allies.”

”Where the misunderstanding probably emerged was in relation to the concept of a NATO fleet. Nobody creates a NATO fleet. That would be nonsense. NATO cannot and does not want to keep its own Black Sea fleet,” Agerpres quotes Iohannis as explaining.

‘We will board the ships, we will waive our flags, but only Bulgaria and Romania”, the Bulgarian prime minister said, adding that any other scenarios could lead to a military conflict.

After the USS Porter (DDG-78), armed with assault cruise missiles and an Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System (primary weapon: Standard Missile 3), entered the Black Sea last week, Moscow promised “response measures” to Washington.

“If a decision is made to create a permanent force, of course, it would be destabilizing, because this is not a NATO sea,” Andrey Kelin, head of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s European Cooperation Department then said.

“If a decision is made to create a permanent force, of course, it would be destabilizing, because this is not a NATO sea,” he added.Under the Montreux Convention, countries which don’t have a Black Sea coastline cannot keep their warships there for more than 21 days. NATO members Turkey, Romania and Bulgaria are all Black Sea Basin countries.

Earlier reports of the Balkan Insight website however suggest that Bucharest is urging NATO to create a permanent alliance fleet in the Black Sea in a “move aimed to counter Russia’s strong involvement in the region.”

The website said that as early as February Romanian Defense Minister Mihnea Motoc announced that Romania is taking the first steps to negotiate with NATO to set up a regular multinational naval patrol in the Black Sea.

“The possibility of creating such a fleet might be discussed at the next NATO summit in July,” Motoc then said. He added that Romania must be ready by then with a clear plan and proposal.

The outlet also added that the regular flotilla might include ships from NATO countries bordering the Black Sea, namely Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey, but also from Germany, Italy and the United States.

The Bulgarian prime minister was not that optimistic. He said that his country was among the most loyal EU countries and was doing what was expected from the European family. But he added that there was no way that Bulgaria would be attacked by Russia.“You remember how our nuclear reactors from the Belene central left for Turkey. Not a single colleague spoke in my defense when President Putin, in the presence of Erdogan, waived his finger at me, saying that Bulgaria lost everything”, EurActive quotes Borissov as saying.

The website adds that “indeed, under Western pressure, Bulgaria abandoned plans to build a nuclear central with Russian technology, and gave up the South Stream gas pipeline project. Putin made strong statements against Bulgaria, and in January 2015, Borissov warned that his country faced an energy catastrophe.”

The International Court of Arbitration at the International Chamber of Commerce in Geneva ruled in favor of the Russian Atomstroyexport company and ordered to pay €620 million in compensation from Bulgaria to Russia.


Russian MoD Surprised UK Needed NATO to Find Russian Submarine

Russian navy conducts submarine rescue exercise


The Russian Defense Ministry said that it was surprised the UK needed NATO to find a Russian submarine traveling at slow speed.

MOSCOW    The Russian Defense Ministry said Wednesday it would be “strange” if the UK navy failed to notice Russia’s Stary Oskol submarine as it slowly travelled toward the Black Sea Fleet.Earlier in the day, it was reported that that a Russian submarine had been “intercepted” as it was expected to pass the strait of Dover, thanks to joint UK-NATO efforts.

“The Russian Defense Ministry is surprised that joint UK-NATO efforts were required to discover a submarine traveling in a surfaced position at slow speed, accompanied by a tugboat. It would have been strange if the Royal Navy together with its NATO allies failed to notice the submarine, particularly considering the fact that our sailors have been greeted — according to an old tradition — by passing merchant vessels from different countries in the Barents, Norwegian and North seas over the past days,” the ministry said in a statement.


Russia, India to Hold Naval Drills in Bay of Bengal December 7-12

Russian-Indian naval exercise Indra-2014


Russia and India will hold the eighth annual joint Indra Navy-15 drills in the Bay of Bengal next week, the Indian Navy said in an official statement Friday.

    The December 7-9 command staff phase of the drills is scheduled to be held in the city of Visakhpatnam, followed by an active phase on December 10-12 along its coast.

The Indian Navy will delegate its Sahyadri stealth guided missile frigate, the Ranvir guided missile destroyer, the Shakti replenishment oiler, the Sindhuvir attack submarine and patrol aircraft for the task.

The Russian Navy’s Pacific Fleet will send a Varyag Slava-class cruiser, a Sovremenny-class Bystry destroyer, the Boris Chilikin-class Boris Butoma fleet oiler and the Alatau salvage tug to to take part in the drills.Russia and India have maintained a close partnership in military and technical cooperation for decades. The two countries have been conducting joint military drills annually since 2003.

During the drills, the two countries’ sailors will practice tactical maneuvers, test their defense capabilities in unsafe conditions, conduct search operations and helicopter exchanges.

The exercises are scheduled to conclude with a closing ceremony on board the Sahyadri frigate.


What is Russia’s S-400 Air Defense System Set to Do in Syria?

Russia deploys S-400 air defence missile system in Syria

Moscow has deployed its most advanced S-400 air defense system, said to have no equals globally, to guard the skies over Syria after a Turkish F-16 fighter shot down a Russian Su-24 bomber over Syrian territory on Tuesday.

The S-400 Triumf (NATO codename SA-21 Growler) is an anti-aircraft and anti-missile system, which is capable of intercepting all types of modern air weaponry, including fifth-generation warplanes, as well as ballistic and cruise missiles at a maximum range of nearly 250 miles. It has a tracking range of over 370 miles.The system uses three types of long- and medium-range missiles and can simultaneously engage as many as 36 targets.

In addition, the S-400 is the only missile complex in the world capable of hitting targets located beyond the horizon, defense expert Konstantin Sivkov told Radio Sputnik. The system is also well protected against electronic warfare.

The Moskva guided missile cruiser, the flagship of Russia's Black Sea Fleet
The Moskva guided missile cruiser, the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet

In short, the S-400 is the best defensive system Russia has in its arsenal.

But just in case, the Triumf will also be assisted by the S-300F Fort (SA-N-6 Grumble) air defense system outfitted on the Moskva guided missile cruiser.

“The S-300 system onboard Moskva is also an extremely capable system that is similar to the S-400, but not quite as potent. One of the missile types supported by the Rif-M system … can engage targets out to 95 miles at altitudes up to 90,000ft. The system can engage half-a-dozen targets with up to twelve missiles simultaneously,” Dave Majumdar observed in an article for the National Interest.

On Tuesday, a Turkish F-16 shot down a Su-24, claiming that the aircraft had violated its airspace. Russian officials and the Su-24 pilot, who survived the crash, insist that the plane did not cross into Turkey. The crew, according to the pilot, did not receive any warning prior to the attack.The Su-24 was involved in Russia’s counterterrorism efforts in Syria aimed at assisting Damascus in its fight against ISIL and other extremist groups trying to overthrow Bashar al-Assad.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan refused to apologize for the incident, which Russian President Vladimir Putin described as a “stab in the back” committed by “accomplices of terrorists.” Moreover, Erdogan warned Russia against using the S-400 to shoot down Turkish fighter jets if they violate Syrian airspace since, in his opinion, it would qualify as “aggression.”