Flagship of the Baltic Fleet on its way toward Syria
Sept 5, 2013
Following several reports of Russia sending warships to the Mediterranean Sea over the past week, The Kremlin’s chief of staff has officially told reporters that the intention is to prepare to evacuate Russian citizens from Syria.
AP reports that Russian news agencies on Thursday quoted senior official Sergei Ivanov as saying that Russia is upping a naval presence in the region to “primarily” be prepared to rescue Russians should a US military bombardment take place.
Yesterday it was reported that Russia is sending three more ships to the eastern Mediterranean to bolster its fleet. The additional deployments include two destroyers, one of which is the flagship of the Baltic Fleet, as well as another missile cruiser.
The information came via a Interfax report that cited an unidentified Russian Navy official, who also admitted that the ships would improve Russian surveillance capability over U.S. ships and submarines deployed in the area.
Last week Russia, Syria’s staunch ally, was reported to have deployed an anti-submarine ship and a missile cruiser to the area, in order to back up the Russian military facility in Syria at the port of Tartus.
As we reported, the Russian Navy denied that the dispatch of the warships was linked to western military action against Syria, despite Interfax quoting a source in the armed forces’ general staff who said the deployment was in response to the “well-known situation”.
A Russian Naval spokesperson told RIA Novosti that the maneuvers were part of planned rotation and not linked to the worsening situation in Syria.
Now, however, the Russians have admitted that the deployments are linked to Syria, albeit with a humanitarian mission, rather than a battle mission.
The revelations, along with reports of China also sending warships to the Syrian coast, are sure to stoke fears of a larger international conflict, should the US strike Syria.
Both Russia and China have warned that a military attack on Syria would have “catastrophic consequences” for the region and are vehemently opposed to US military action.
The nations are clearly responding to that fact that five U.S. destroyers and an amphibious ship are currently positioned in the eastern Mediterranean awaiting strike orders. The USS Nimitz and three other warships are also stationed in the nearby Red Sea.
According to Ariel Cohen, a senior research fellow at the US think tank the Heritage Foundation, a western attack on Syria would prompt Russia to “deploy a permanent naval squadron in the Mediterranean and accelerate the search for naval bases and anchorages, such as Tartus and Latakiyeh in Syria.”
Steve Watson is the London based writer and editor for Alex Jones’ Infowars.com, and Prisonplanet.com. He has a Masters Degree in International Relations from the School of Politics at The University of Nottingham, and a Bachelor Of Arts Degree in Literature and Creative Writing from Nottingham Trent University.