“Admiral Kuznetsov” is the largest naval vessel in the Russian Navy. Over the last few days she has sailed northbound the coast of Norway and arrived in Severomorsk on Thursday, reports TV21. On her way north, the carrier was accompanied by the anti-submarine ship “Admiral Chabanenko” and other supporting vessels.
“Admiral Kuznetsov” at port in Murmansk last summer. Photo: Thomas Nilsen
Friendship port-call The aircraft carrier’s visit to the Syrian port of Tartus is seen as a strong Russian support to the regime in Damaskus as the conflicts in the country have escalated over the last months. In January RIA Novosti was quoting the Syrian official SANA news agency reporting that the visit of “Admiral Kuznetsov” is by Syrian authorities called a “show of solidarity with the Syrian people.”
“We highly respect Russia’s honorable stance in support of the Syrian people,” SANA cited Governor of Tartus Atef al-Naddaf as saying.
The naval base in Tartus is Russia’s only ramaining military foothold in the Mediterranean.
The carrier has a crew of nearly 2,000 and a fleet of SU-33 jetfighters and KA-27 helicopters onboard. She sailed from the Barents Sea in early December last year and has participated in exercises in both the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea.
2007 show-off in between oil rigs During a voyage in December 2007 “Admiral Kuznetsov” suddenly started an exercise in the close vicinity of Norwegian oil platforms in the North Sea, including takeoff and landings onto the deck of the carrier. The flights of Russian jet-fighters forced Norwegian air-traffic control authorities to halt all helicopter traffic to and from the Troll oil platform.
Norway handed over an official protest to Russian authorities stating that the exercise was highly regrettable since it had consequences for the Norwegian oil industry’s operations in the North Sea.