|May 16, 2013
Earlier we reported that the US has now officially landed a Marine force in Israel as well as an assault ship, in a visit that the US Navy promptly assured "is not associated with, nor a reaction to, any world events." It seems we were not the only ones who read this justification somewhat skeptically: so did Russia. And in a historic event, the Russian Pacific fleet, for the first time in decades, crossed the Suez Canal and entered the Mediterranean, direction Cyprus' port of Limasol (hi Cyprus - Russia will be arriving shortly) in what is now the loudest implied warning to the US and Israel amassing military units across Syria's border that Russia will not stand idly by as Syria is used by the Israeli "Defense" Forces for target practice. “The task force has successfully passed through the Suez Channel and entered the Mediterranean. It is the first time in decades that Pacific Fleet warships enter this region,” Capt. First Rank Roman Martov said. This is what is also known as dropping hints, loud and clear.
The group, including the destroyer Admiral Panteleyev, the amphibious warfare ships Peresvet and Admiral Nevelskoi, the tanker Pechenga and the salvage/rescue tug Fotiy Krylov left the port of Vladivostok on March 19 to join Russia’s Mediterranean task force.
Admiral Panteleyev destroyer
The task force currently includes the large anti-submarine ship Severomorsk, the frigate Yaroslav Mudry, the salvage/rescue tugs Altai and SB-921 and the tanker Lena from the Northern and Baltic Fleets, as well as the Ropucha-II Class landing ship Azov from the Black Sea Fleet. The task force may be enlarged to include nuclear submarines, Navy Commander Admiral Viktor Chirkov said last Sunday.
Shore leave for a whole lot of submarines just a few hundred kilometers from Syria? Surely. From Rian.
“The task force has successfully passed through the Suez Channel and entered the Mediterranean. It is the first time in decades that Pacific Fleet warships enter this region,” Capt. First Rank Roman Martov said.
The Defense Ministry said in April Russia has begun setting up a naval task force in the Mediterranean, sending several warships from the Pacific Fleet to the region. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said in March a permanent naval task force in the Mediterranean was needed to defend Russia’s interests in the region.
A senior Defense Ministry official said the Mediterranean task force's command and control agencies will be based either in Novorossiysk, Russia, or in Sevastopol, Ukraine.
Admiral Vladimir Komoyedov, head of the parliamentary defense committee, previously told RIA Novosti that the Mediterranean task force should be comprised of 10 warships and support vessels as part of several tactical groups tasked with attack, antisubmarine warfare and minesweeping.
The Soviet Union maintained its 5th Mediterranean Squadron from 1967 until 1992. It was formed to counter the US Navy's 6th Fleet during the Cold War, and consisted of 30-50 warships and auxiliary vessels.
It appears that the squadron is being reincarnated and quite rapidly at that.
It also appears that the two key naval forces in the Mediterranean are finally starting to position themselves for what may soon be a face off.
Hopefully Europe's "anti-manipulation" task force can spook enough majors to push the price of Brent much lower before the moment such an escalation becomes reality.
P.S. Got oil?