by Lady Michelle-Jennifer Santos, Chief Visionary Founder & Owner
June 8, 2013 (TSR) – Russia says it has deployed a permanent naval unit to the Mediterranean Sea, a move that the Russian president says is aimed at defending the country’s security.
The Russian chief of staff said Thursday that Moscow had deployed 16 warships and three ship-based helicopters to the region.
The Russian Defence Ministry, in a statement in Moscow, also said the naval group will consist of cruisers‚ anti-submarine ships‚ patrol boats‚ landing ships and auxiliary vessels.
It said the force will monitor the situation in the region‚ conduct rescue operations‚ prevent drug trafficking and arms smuggling‚ and combat sea piracy and terrorism.
The Defense Ministry said it would regularly rotate them to keep a presence of about a dozen. However, depending on the scope of assignments and their complexity, the number of warships in the task force may be increased.
Military officials have said in the past that Russian navy ships in the Mediterranean could be used to evacuate equipment and personnel from the Syrian port of Tartus. Previous deployments have invariably included amphibious landing vessels, which could serve the purpose.
Russian ships have been making regular visits to the Mediterranean, but the recent move marks the country’s first permanent naval deployment in the region since Soviet times.
Russia also has a naval maintenance and supply facility in Syria – the only naval base that Russia has in the Mediterranean and anywhere outside the former Soviet Union.
Putin said the plan is not meant as a threat to any country and should not be seen as “saber-rattling.”
Russia cooperates with NATO navies against piracy and its ships call at Western ports.
But its support for President Bashar al-Assad and consistent stance of allowing the Syrians to decide their fate, not international parties, that have put Moscow at odds with the West. Filled with regret, Moscow refuses to repeat the Libya scenario.
Putin rebuked Netanyahu last month that his illegal aggressive airstrikes on Syria is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. To make sure Netanyahu gets the point, the forthcoming Russian ships on patrol will be able to shoot any attacking Israeli planes down, including those returning to base post attack. They can even be shot down while taking off. Needless to say, any strike by Israel would trigger a full response by the Russians that could include their bases and command structure.
The Russian president added that the Mediterranean Sea is “a strategically important region and we have tasks to carry out there to provide for the national security of the Russian Federation.”
According to experts, the current plan will stretch the Russian fleet capability and note that the base in Tartus, a rundown facility made up of a floating pier and a few aging barracks and warehouses, can’t provide a sufficient backup for the permanent navy presence in the region. Since it’s also too small for big ships, the unit must stay at sea.
Large-scale naval exercises Russia held in March and ship movements near Syria have been seen in the West as muscle-flexing by Moscow, which has sold weapons to Assad’s government and shielded it from any action by the U.N. Security Council.
The announcement comes after Moscow said it intended to resume patrols by nuclear-armed submarines in the southern seas, which is part of a broader effort by Putin to revitalize Russia’s military power.
On June 1, a source in the Russian military said Moscow is planning to deploy submarines equipped with nuclear ballistic missiles to southern international waters for the first time since the collapse of the former Soviet Union.
The official at the Russian General Staff, who asked to remain anonymous, told Itar-Tass news agency that an expansion of Russia’s strategic submarine patrol area is going to begin from 2014.
The first nuclear-powered Russian Borei-class submarine was put into service in January.
Russian Missile Forces to Hold 200 Drills in Next 6 Months
Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces will conduct over 200 exercises in the next six months, the Defense Ministry has said.
“During the summer training period, the SMF is planning to hold over 200 exercises, including tactical drills at the division-regiment level as well as command post exercises at the army level,” spokesman Col. Igor Yegorov said Thursday.
Russia’s SMF plans by 2016 to modernize its command-and-control systems in order to improve their ability to overcome missile defenses and increase the survivability of delivery vehicles.
At present, six types of silo-based and mobile ICBM systems are on combat duty with the SMF, including the heavy Voyevoda (SS-18 Satan), capable of carrying 10 warheads, the Topol-M (Stalin) and RS-24 Yars systems.
On Thursday, SMF successfully tested a prototype of a new solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), which is expected to replace Topol-M and Yars in the future.
The missile was fired from a mobile launcher at the Kapustin Yar testing range in the Astrakhan region and hit its designated target at the Sary Shagan testing range in Kazakhstan.
Protecting Russian Sovereignty
Putin has highlighted the significance of a powerful military since becoming president last May.
“Russia needs to launch a major military buildup to prepare for life in a dangerous world where international law is breaking down, the West feels free to intervene in sovereign countries, and rivals could invade Russia to seize its rich trove of natural resources”, the then Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has warned.
During his campaign for presidency, he pledged, among other things, the biggest rearmament program in Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
President Vladimir Putin made a case that Russia will not be able to strengthen their international position, develop their economy or its democratic institutions if they are unable to protect Russia — if they fail to calculate the risks of possible conflicts from outside forces, secure their military-technological independence and prepare an adequate military response capability as a last-resort response to some kind of challenge. In other words, the Russian President of a nation rich with natural resources should not tempt anyone by allowing themselves to be weak.
For the first time he has stated that the goal is, effectively, to create a modern all-volunteer force.
Over the next decade, Putin pledged $772 billion to be spent on 400 new intercontinental ballistic missiles, 2,300 late-generation tanks, 600 modern combat aircraft – including at least 100 military-purpose space planes – eight nuclear ballistic missile submarines, 50 surface warships as well as a whole new inventory of artillery, air defense systems, and about 17,000 new military vehicles.
Russia’s armed forces have been dramatically transformed over the past five years by a sweeping restructuring that has eliminated the gargantuan Soviet “mobilization army,” with its hundreds of “phantom” divisions that are meant to be filled out by reservists in times of war. Tens of thousands of top-level officers have been cashiered, the length of mandatory male military service has been reduced from three years to one, and about 100 mobile combat brigades – largely staffed by professional soldiers – have taken the place of hundreds of unwieldy World War II-era armored divisions as the core of Russia’s army.
But many experts warn that even if the massive rearmament program Putin is advocating is desirable and affordable for Russia, it may be simply not feasible. The Soviet-era military-industrial complex, with its vast webs of subcontractors, has shriveled and the skilled workers and engineers that once populated it have long since disappeared.
In order for this plan to come to life, Putin need to make sure that Russian military industries are restored and many new plants are built, which is exactly what he started working on when got into office.
He also warned that US-NATO plans to build a globe-spanning missile defense shield will have to be countered with new generations of weapons designed to keep Russia’s strategic nuclear deterrent effective.
“We are forced to take decisive steps to bolster our national aerospace defense system to counter the US and NATO efforts in the deployment of missile defense,” Putin writes. “One cannot be ‘too patriotic’ about this issue. Russia’s military response to the global US missile shield, including its European part, will be effective and asymmetrical, a match for US missile defense policy.”
The US-NATO missile defense shield has also been a thorn on Russia’s side.
The US claimed that its system is a safeguard against threats from rogue nations like Iran and North Korea, but refused to offer Russia legally binding guarantees that the system would be limited to this purpose. A legally binding guarantee would give Russia the right to inspect the system, along with possible access to other military bases.
It is important to note that the missile defense shield is to be built near Russia’s borders. Such a move would upset the current global balance of nuclear power.
In early August last year, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that the planned US deployment of a missile defense system in Europe could mean the return of a Cold War-style arms race.
Russia considers the US missile defense system a national security threat, and is preparing an asymmetrical response by developing weapons capable of breaching the system. Russia is also deploying shorter-range ballistic missiles near its Western borders, to conduct strikes against the missile defense shield if such need arises.
As response to US-NATO’s lack of transparent honesty, Russia began production of a new heavy ICBM that can better penetrate the US missile defense system in Europe.
The new and as-yet-unnamed silo-based ICBM will replace the R-36M2 ‘Voyevoda’ missile (known to NATO as the SS-18 ‘Satan’) is said to be completed by 2018.
Russia first announced the project in May 2011, when he revealed that the planned ICBM design will be capable of bypassing missile defense systems within the next 15-20 years.
Tensions over the project were nearly resolved in 2010 when the US announced it had abandoned a plan to deploy missile defense radar and interceptors to Poland and the Czech Republic. Russia responded by scrapping plans to deploy the short-range missiles to its westernmost exclave of Kaliningrad.
This thaw came to an end in 2011 when US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton revealed plans to install a missile defense base in Poland by 2018. But Poland got betrayed by USA and paid a high political price for it.
Putin has been also met with foreign influences working to destabilize Russia even before he became President for the third time.
Foreign-funded False flag activities in the form of opposition protesters came to the fore, to which, Putin addressed during his victory speech, as well as his inaugural one, and warned that he will not allow anyone destabilize Russia by foreign-instigated groups within its soil.
No soon after he became a president, his United Russia Party spearheaded and signed the controversial NGO bill.
Russia expelled the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) out of the country from October 1, 2012 accusing the US of using its aid agency in Moscow covertly influencing the country’s politics and elections and destabilize Russian unity.
Russian authorities have become increasingly suspicious of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), which they believe are using foreign funding to foment political unrest.
According to Russia, the agency’s work “does not always correspond to [its] stated goals” and “attempts to exert influence, via the distribution of grants, upon political processes, including elections of various levels and institutions of civil society.” USAID funds a number of pro-democracy and human rights groups that have provoked the Kremlin’s wrath (as well as many other countries, like Bolivia).
President Vladimir Putin alleged that protests surrounding his re-election were orchestrated by US-funded NGOs via cash transfers from the US State Department. US “aid”, and indeed any Western “aid” always comes at a hefty price which is not only not worth paying but is part of a plan to subvert and destabilise Russia, and so the “aid” shouldn’t be touched with a barge pole. It’s always undertaken with the aim of stirring up anti-Putin sentiment.
The main target of Putin’s ire has been Golos, an independent election monitoring group that receives the bulk of its funding from USAid and was key in exposing electoral fraud in a December parliamentary vote that helped bring tens of thousands of protesters on to the streets.
The Russian foreign ministry also expressed its displeasure with the agency’s work in the troubled North Caucasus, a region still wracked by the remnants of a violent Islamist insurgency. “USAid’s activity in the Russian regions, especially the North Caucasus, prompted serious questions, which we warned our American colleagues about repeatedly,” the statement last year said.
In fact, the Russian and Ukrainian security services have even foiled a plot to assassinate Vladimir Putin by two men linked to a group seeking an Islamist state in Russia’s North Caucasus. Their deadline was after the Russian presidential election.
After the tit-for-tat over US Magnitsky bill, the latest destabilization efforts by USA, or should we say, embarrassment, was the exposure of Ryan Fogle, a CIA/diplomat working in the embassy recruiting Russians. To add salt to the injury, the Russian government exposed the CIA boss he was working for, U.S. Moscow embassy counsellor Steven Hall.
With Israel and USA positioned in Benghazi military base and being masterminds in destabilizing Syria, Russia is now positioning itself to be the buffer and stabilizing factor against any warmongers trying to destroy peace and security the region.