"Admiral Kuznetsov" visited Syria two years ago and is returning there this winter. The vessel is based in Severomorsk on the Kola Peninsula.(Photo: Thomas Nilsen)
The Russian Naval Command has no intention to change plans to send the country’s only aircraft carrier to the Syrian port of Tartus, in spite of the tensions in the region. The vessel leaves home base in December.
The Russian Navy’s flag ship “Admiral Kuznetsov” will sail for the Mediterranean in December, as planned, a naval source said to ITAR-TASS. One of the ports the vessel will visit is Syrian Tartus, where Russian has a naval base.
“In spite of the strained situation in the region, the Naval Command will not discard the vessel’s planned voyage to the Eastern Mediterranean”, the source said. He underlined that the visit to Tartus has no connections to the situation in Syria. “The campaign schedule has already been agreed upon”, he said.
Navy Commander Admiral Viktor Chirkov informed about the aircraft carrier’s sailing plan in June, as BarentsObserver reported.
Tartus is the last Russian naval base in the Mediterranean. 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. The naval logistics support base in Syria is now part of the Black Sea Fleet.
Vessels from the Northern Fleet have been visiting Tartus quite regularly the last years. Last time was in January 2012, when “Admiral Kuznetsov” stopped at the base for replenishment of supplies, as Barents Observer reported.