Russia Conducting No Talks on Creating Military Bases in Libya

Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov in international waters off the coast of Northern Norway on October 17, 2016.

Russia is not conducting talks on creating military bases in Libya, Viktor Ozerov, head of the Russian Federation Council’s defense committee, said on Sunday.

      Switzerland’s Neu Zuercher Zeitung newspaper reported citing Italian and Gulf media that Libyan General Khalifa Haftar had allegedly signed an agreement reflecting Moscow’s interest in creating bases in the cities of Tobruk and Benghazi during his visit to Russia’s Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrying cruiser.

“Such talks are not being conducted,” Ozerov told Sputnik.

Russian Fleet Leaving Mediterranean Sea Ready to Return to Syria’s Waters in Case of Emergency

Russian Fleet Leaving Mediterranean Sea Ready to Return to Syria's Waters in Case of Emergency

      Russian General Vyacheslav Bobov underlined on Tuesday that the Russian fleet of warships, including Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier, which are about to leave the Eastern waters of the Mediterranean Sea in coming weeks will be fully ready to return to Syria in case needed.

The Russian General warned that in case any incident arises to halt the diplomatic settlement of the Syrian crisis, Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier, the fighter jets on board and other accompanying warships will return to Syrian waters immediately.

Yet, he said Syria’s current situation allows the Russian fleet to return to its base back at home.

Bobov underscored that there is no plan for a complete withdrawal of the Russian military from Syrian, although the Russian military capability will be reduced now that some main objectives have been achieved in the war on terrorism.

Chief of the Russian Army General Staff Valery Gerasimov announced that Moscow has launched withdrawal operation of a part of its military forces and equipment from war-hit Syria.

“In accordance with the decision of Supreme Commander of the Russian Armed Forces (President) Vladimir Putin, the Russian defense ministry is beginning the reduction of the armed deployment to Syria,” Gerasimov, said.

Gerasimov added that reduction of military forces in Syria will start with the withdrawal of the North Naval Group led by Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier.

Interfax reported for its part that Russian has decided to withdraw a number of its military planes, Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier, Pyotr Veliky (Peter the Great) battle cruiser and logistic cruisers from Syria’s coasts.

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.


Russian naval aviation pilots destroyed over 1,200 terrorist facilities in Syria

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January 06, 12:55 UTC+3
“Over the two months of their participation in combat operations, naval aviation pilots have carried out 420 sorties, including 117 in nighttime,” Commander of Russia’s Group of Forces in Syria said

MOSCOW, January 6. /TASS/. Russian naval aviation pilots have performed 420 sorties and destroyed 1,252 terrorist facilities over the two months of the aircraft carrier naval group’s participation in the Syria operation, Commander of Russia’s Group of Forces in Syria Colonel-General Andrei Kartapolov said on Friday.

“Over the two months of their participation in combat operations, naval aviation pilots have carried out 420 sorties, including 117 in nighttime. Actually all flights were performed in complex weather conditions. A total of 1,252 terrorist facilities have been destroyed,” he said.

The Northern Fleet’s aircraft carrier naval task force comprising the heavy aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov, the heavy nuclear-powered missile cruiser Pyotr Velikiy, the large anti-submarine warfare ship Severomorsk, and also the Black Sea Fleet’s warships and support vessels has been accomplishing missions since November 8, 2016 to fight terrorists in Syria, he said.

“The strikes were delivered against infrastructure facilities, the amassments of militants and military hardware, fire emplacements and strongholds of illegal armed formations,” the commander said.

“The Black Sea Fleet’s frigate Admiral Grigorovich staying in the Mediterranean Sea delivered a missile strike on November 15, 2016 with Kalibr cruise missiles against facilities of the ISIL [the former name of the Islamic State terrorist organization outlawed in Russia] on the territory of Syria. All the targets were destroyed,” he said.

The missions of delivering strikes against ground facilities directly from aboard warships were accomplished by deck-based aircraft for the first time in the history of the Russian Navy, the commander said.

Russia’s aircraft carrier naval group accomplished missions in Syria

The tasks of Russia’s aircraft carrier naval group in Syria have been accomplished, Kartapolov said.

“The tasks assigned to the aircraft carrier naval task force have been accomplished,” the general said.

The aircraft carrier’s naval group’s warships and vessels are fully provided with all material supplies and are technically fit, he said.

“The Northern Fleet’s aircraft carrier naval group is ready for further operations,” Kartapolov said.

During its stay in Syrian waters, the Russian aircraft carrier naval group established close interaction with Russia’s air task force and Bastion coastal defense missile systems, he said.

“A unified air defense system has been created jointly with the resources and capabilities of the air defense system of the Russian grouping in Syria on the basis of modern S-300 and S-400 complexes to reliably protect facilities on the ground and at sea,” the commander said.

All types of defense, multi-service force interaction and comprehensive provision were practiced as Russia employed aircraft groups both from aboard the aircraft carrier and from the coastal aerodrome, he said.


Russia starts cutting grouping of forces in Syria


January 06, 12:09 updated at: January 06, 12:42 UTC+3
The Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier naval group will be the first to leave the conflict area

The Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier

The Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier

MOSCOW, January 6. /TASS/. Russia’s Defense Ministry has starting cutting the grouping of forces in Syria in accordance with the decree by Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chief of the General Staff Army General Valery Gerasimov said on Friday.

The Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier naval group will be the first to leave the conflict area, he said.

“In accordance with the decision by Supreme Commander-in-Chief Vladimir Putin, Russia’s Defense Ministry is starting to downsize the grouping of the armed forces in Syria,” the chief of the General Staff said.

The warships of the Northern Fleet’s aircraft carrier task force led by Russia’s sole aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov will be the first to leave the conflict area, he said.

The Admiral Kuznetsov carrier will begin Friday moving from the Mediterranean to Severomorsk in Russia’s northern Murmansk region, Gerasimov said.

“I would like to thank the staff of the aircraft carrier group for the success in implementing its tasks. I order the senior officer of the mission Vice-Admiral Viktor Sokolov to begin relocating the group today and move to the main fleet base of Severomorsk as per the plan approved earlier,” he said.

Commander of Russia’s Group of Forces in Syria Colonel-General Andrei Kartapolov said the aircraft carrier naval group completed its tasks and it is ready for further operations.


Black Sea frigate Admiral Grigorovich back to base from Mediterranean

© Alexander Karpushkin/TASS

MOSCOW, December 19. /TASS/. The Russian Black Sea Fleet’s frigate The Admiral Grigorovich has returned to its base Sevastopol from the Mediterranean, the fleet’s spokesman Vyacheslav Trukhachyov has told the media.

He recalled that the just-ended mission was the ship’s second long voyage this year. Earlier in autumn the Admiral Grigorovich performed a variety of tasks in the Mediterranean and participated in events of the 15th public forum Russia Week on the Ionian Islands.

The Admiral Grigorivch is the head ship of project 11356, delivered to the Russian navy in March 2016. Ships of this type have a water displacement of 4,000 tonnes, speed of 30 knots and endurance of 30 days. The frigates are armed with the missile system Kalibr-NK, air defense systems Shtil-1 and Palash, 100-mm artillery system A-190, torpedoes and anti-submarine equipment. Each ship is capable of carrying a helicopter.


Russian-Indian Joint Naval Drills Kick Off in Bay of Bengal


 Russian-Indian naval exercise Indra-2014

   The Joint Russian-Indian naval exercises, Indra Navy, started in the Bay of Bengal on Wednesday.

   According to the press service of the Pacific fleet, a squadron of its warships, including the large anti-submarine warfare ship Admiral Tributs and the Boris Butoma fleet oiler, are set to dock at the Indian port to participate in Indra Navy 2016.

   This year, some 500 servicemen are set to be engaged in the drills, according to the Russian Defense Ministry.

   The first joint Russian-Indian naval drills were held in 2003. The drills were also held in 2007, 2014 and 2015.

Deal on Russia’s Tartus naval base in Syria ‘at final stage’ — senator


MOSCOW, December 7. /TASS/. The preparations for signing an agreement on Russia’s Tartus naval base in Syria are at the final stage, Chairman of the Federation Council Committee for Defense and Security Viktor Ozerov said on Wednesday.

“At the final stage, as far as I know,” the senator said in reply to a question from TASS about the stage of preparing the agreement on the Tartus facility.


Key Reason Why Russia’s Admiral Kuznetsov Does Not Take Part in Aleppo Operation


 Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov in international waters off the coast of Northern Norway on October 17, 2016.

   The Admiral Kuznetsov-led aircraft carrier group has “deliberately” refrained from participating in an operation to free eastern Aleppo, the Chinese newspaper People’s Daily asserted, saying that Russia does not want its strikes to inflict civilian casualties.

   “Russia is not interested in carrying out a large-scale campaign in Aleppo, since massive airstrikes could lead to massive civilian casualties. For its part, extremist groups and anti-Russian forces could use them to their own benefit, which will have opposite political and social implications,” the media outlet explained.

    The largely unexpected outcome of the recent presidential election in the United States has also been named as a factor.

   “More importantly, relations between Russia and the United States have once again changed following Trump’s victory. At this stage Russia all the more does not want any trouble with regard to civilian casualties on the Syrian battlefield and other issues that could complicate bilateral relations,” the newspaper noted.

   People’s Daily further pointed out that the war in Syria has not reached a crucial point yet. The publication suggested that Russia hopes to weaken terrorist groups fighting against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad by launching strikes against targets spread across multiple regions, waiting for the right time to join the campaign to liberate Aleppo.

   Russia sent the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier, the Pyotr Veliky battle cruiser, the Severomorsk and Admiral Kulakov anti-submarine destroyers and support vessels to the eastern Mediterranean to conduct military exercises and increase its counterterrorism capabilities in Syria. The group reached its destination on November 8.

   Admiral Kuznetsov entered battle for the first time in the ship’s history seven days later, on November 15. The Sukhoi Su-33 carrier-based multirole fighters carried out airstrikes against Daesh and al-Nusra Front targets in the Syrian provinces of Idlib and Homs following comprehensive reconnaissance, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said.

    As part of this operation, the Russian military eliminated Abul Baha al-Asfari, an al-Nusra Front field commander who was in charge of several offensive operations in the province of Aleppo. <br>

    The Sukhoi Su-33, based on Admiral Kuznetsov, took part in another massive airstrike against militant targets in Syria on November 17, focusing on command centers, ammunition depots, military hardware and facilities used to produce weapons. The Russian Defense Ministry emphasized that all targets were verified through several intelligence channels, while unmanned aerial vehicles were monitoring the operation.

“High precision airstrikes helps to minimize civilian casualties during large-scale operations. At the same time Russia needs to test its weapons and military equipment,” People’s Daily suggested. The country “has introduced multiple types of military hardware [during its counterterrorism operation in Syria] and has carried out high precision attacks to test efficiency and performance characteristics of its weapons.”

Russian Strikes in Syria ‘Will Have Profound Psychological Effect’ on Terrorists


 Admiral Grigorovich patrol ship deployed in Syria for the first time ever

   Russian airstrikes against terrorists in the Syrian provinces of Idlib and Homs will have a strong psychological effect, said Russian parliamentarian Franz Klintsevich, First Deputy Chairman of the Committee on Defense and Security at the Federation Council.

    Earlier this week, during President Vladimir Putin’s meeting with the military command, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu reported that the Russian Navy launched Kalibr cruise missiles against Daesh positions in Idlib and Homs.

   “I believe that airstrikes by the Russian Aerospace Forces backed by the Russian navy against terrorist targets in the provinces Idlib and Homs will also have a profound psychological effect. This will facilitate the liberation of Aleppo where the Russian aviation will also be involved,” Klintsevich said.

   On Tuesday, Shoigu said that the Russian frigate Admiral Grigorovich hit terrorists in Syria with Kalibr cruise missiles.

    “Today, we started a large-scale operation on launching massive strikes on Daesh and al-Nusra Front targets in the Idlib and Homs provinces,” Shoigu said.

   “Frigate Admiral Grigorovich takes part in the operation. Today, it launched Kalibr cruise missiles on targets that had been confirmed by intelligence data and determined in advance,” Shoigu said at the meeting with Putin.

   On the same the ministry also reported that “for the first time in history of the Russian Naval Forces” Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft-carrying cruiser launched striked on Daesh and al-Nusra Front targets in Idlib and Homs.

   “The Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrying cruiser began taking part in operations for the first time in the history of the Russian Navy. Our Su-33 aircraft began working from this cruiser today. Before this, we carried out very careful, thorough reconnaissance of all targets,” Shoigu said.

   The main targets include ammunition depots as well as plants producing weapons, the minister added.

    On November 8, it was reported that Russian Navy’s aircraft carrier group, which includes Russia’s Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier, Pyotr Veliky’ guided missile cruiser and two destroyers, had completed its transfer to the Mediterranean Sea and group was getting ready to launch a strike targeting Daesh terrorists in the province of Aleppo. On November 12, the commander of the Admiral Kuznetsov said that sea-based jets of the aircraft-carrying cruiser began training flights.

   However, so far Russian combat aircraft refrain from carrying out airstrikes in Aleppo to help civilians evacuate from the city.

   The Defense Ministry also reported that the Russian naval group in Syria was protected by Bastion and Pantsir coastal defense missile systems as well as an S-300 missile defense which was deployed to Syria in October.

   Moreover, the ministry released a statement saying that Russian Aerospace Forces carried out airstrikes on Daesh and al-Nusra Front positions on Thursday.

   The Russian air group at the Hmeymim airbase and Su-33 jets from the Admiral Kuznetsov also took part in the strikes.

   “The targets included terrorist command posts, weapons and ammo depots, various military equipment and weapons production facilities,” the statement said.

    In particular, the ministry reported that at least 30 militants from al-Nusra Front, including several field commanders, had been destroyed by airstrikes launched from the Admiral Kuznetsov.

   The airstrikes also included Russian Tu-95MS strategic bombers which used cruise missiles against Daesh and al-Nusra targets.

   The missile carriers’ route passed through the North Sea and the Eastern Atlantic, the statement said. Pilots covered 11,000 kilometers (6,835 miles), flying from Russian airbases and performed aerial refueling twice before they reached their combat positions.

   According to the ministry’s statement, Russian strategic bombers launched cruise missiles from an area over the Mediterranean Sea. Once the strike on terrorist targets had been carried out, the Russian Aerospace Forces aircraft returned to their home airbase.