debkafile Reports: Russia launches first naval power build-up in the Mediterranean in response to the US about-face on Iran
President Vladimir Putin and defense minister Anatoly Serdyukov decided to send a sortie of six Russian warships, led by the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier and the Moskva guided missile cruiser, to the Mediterranean. This will be the first prolonged stay of a Russian carrier to the eastern Mediterranean vicinity of Israel’s shores and waters patrolled by the US Sixth Fleet. On its decks are 47 warplanes and 10 helicopters. The Moskva is the Russian Navy’s Black Sea flagship.
According to our Moscow sources, the Kremlin is determined not to be left lagging behind the new Bush administration’s steps towards an accommodation with Iran, which were signaled by the US National Intelligence Estimate absolving Tehran of running a military nuclear program from 2003.
debkafile‘s military sources report that the Russian fleet, which has already set out for its new mission from the North and Black Seas, will have the use of naval facilities at Syria’s Tartous port. Its presence for several months will be a complication for the Israel navy’s operations opposite the Lebanese and Syrian coasts, especially if the Russians are joined at Tartous by Iranian submarines or warships.
The Kremlin also decided to send a sortie of ships to the northeastern Atlantic.