As predicted here:
Our prediction: the next ship to be dispatched in direction Syria will be the missile cruiser Moskva, the “flag ship of the Black Sea fleet” and more of its affiliated warships, which was last deployed in November of 2012 during the 8 day escalation between Israel and Gaza which culminated in Operation Pillar of Defense. That, and a whole lot of submarines.
– Putin: ‘Will We Help Syria? We Will’ (Itar Tass, Sep 6, 2013):
‘I Do Not Want To Think That Any Other Country Will Be Subjected To Any External Aggression’
MOSCOW, August 29 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s Black Sea Fleet is capable of destroying NATO’s naval strike group currently deployed in the sea within 20 minutes, a former fleet commander said on Friday. (Russian Navy modernized – Image gallery)
“Despite the apparent strength, the NATO naval group in the Black Sea is not battle-worthy,” Admiral Eduard Baltin said. “If necessary, a single missile salvo from the Moskva missile cruiser and two or three missile boats would be enough to annihilate the entire group.”
“Within 20 minutes the waters would be clear,” he said, stressing that despite major reductions, the Black Sea Fleet (Image gallery) still has a formidable missile arsenal.
– Russia Boosts Mediterranean Force as U.S. Mulls Syria Strike (Bloomberg, Sep 4, 2013):
Russia is sending three more ships to the eastern Mediterranean to bolster its fleet there as a U.S. Senate panel will consider President Barack Obama’s request for authority to conduct a military strike on Syria.
Russia is sending two destroyers, including the Nastoichivy, the flagship of the Baltic Fleet, and the Moskva missile cruiser to the region, Interfax reported today, citing an unidentified Navy official. That follows last week’s dispatch of a reconnaissance ship to the eastern Mediterranean, four days after the deployment of an anti-submarine ship and a missile cruiser to the area, which were reported by Interfax. Syria hosts Russia’s only military facility outside the former Soviet Union, at the port of Tartus.
– Russia Says It’s Sending Warships To Med For Evacuations From Syria (Infowars, Sep 5, 2013):
Flagship of the Baltic Fleet on its way toward Syria
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.”