Russia's only aircraft carrier "Admiral Kuznetsov" at port in Murmansk.(Photo: Thomas Nilsen)
Russia’s only aircraft carrier, the Northern Fleet’s “Admiral Kuznetsov”, has finished repairs and is ready to leave the port of Murmansk. According to a Russian news agency, the vessel will sail to Syria.
The aircraft carrier was put into dock at Shipyard no. 82 in Roslyakovo outside Murmansk in May 2015, and has been repaired and tested since then. Now all systems and mechanics are combat ready again, and the vessel will leave Murmansk by the end of this week, TASS reports.
According to news website FlashNord, a source in the Northern Fleet command says that “Admiral Kuznetsov” will sail to Syria, where it will take part in the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS).
Russia has a naval base in Tartus, Syria. It was established in Soviet times, and is occasionally used by Russian vessels today. Currently no Russian ship is based there although civilian and military personnel are present. Vessels from the Northern Fleet have been visiting Tartus quite regularly the last years. Last time was in Desember 2013-January 2014, when «Admiral Kuznetsov» was on a mission to the Mediterranean.
The port facilities in Tartus have been expanded and the waters in the port area have been cleared and deepened in order to be able to receive large ships, Kommersant reports.
In September the Russian Federation Council approved the use of Russian military in Syria to fight terrorist groups, at a request from the Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Russia’s Defense Ministry in the end of September announced that the Russian Navy will conduct an exercise in the Mediterranean “in the near future”. The drills, which are said to have been planned since late 2014, will include missile and artillery fires on surface and aerial targets, air-, antisubmarine and antiship defense, communications procedures and rescue operations.
The news form FlashNord has been reposted by several other Russian media, but no other sources to the information have been mentioned.