Date: 10 July 2018
Dangerous Activities of Russia’s Navy Fleet
While organizing a large-scale sports event, each country is expected to take care of its security. So it does not come as a surprise that Russia had decided to alert its services as well as the army. But what do these two, preventing terrorist attacks and massive force concentration in the Sea of Azov, have in common? It seems that the Kremlin traditionally used a big sports event to cover up the activities of its army as they could possibly result with some aggressive activities carried out right after the end of the FIFA World Cup. Such state of affairs might be most worrying for Georgia and Ukraine, with special regard to the latter. Russia’s current actions resemble the ones that happened in 2008 and 2014.
The Russian army and services have introduced additional security measures; such decision has been taken in accordance with the President’s decree as well as the directive issued by the General Staff of the Russian Federation. Officially, such initiative has aimed to prevent any possible acts of terror, which seems to explain the large number of plainclothes police officers in public transport, increased police patrols on the streets as well as the protection for football players and facilities. So it is difficult to understand what increased state of combat readiness has in common with preventing possible terrorist attacks. Such “mobilization” is particularly visible in southern Russia, which may worry such countries as Georgia and Ukraine. Numerous warships, patrol boats but also military personnel, including divers, have been deployed to the territory of the Black Sea coast, in the vicinity of Sochi. In particular, they are supposed to control a stretch of coast from the Sochi marina to the border with Abkhazia. Its waters are patrolled by warships (as well as missile corvettes and anti-submarine warfare vessels) stationed in the naval ports of Sevastopol, Novorossiysk and Anapa. The airspace over Sochi is protected by Pantsir-S1 and Tor missile systems. Moreover, the 1721st Anti-Aircraft Rocket Regiment is equipped with the BUK-M2 long-range air defense system. Facing the Black Sea, the Sochi area is also shielded by rocket artillery. Also flights of civilian aircraft have been restricted in the region’s airspace. While such force concentration in the Sochi region may cause concern primarily to Georgia, Ukraine has been rather alarmed by the fact that Russia would continue to strengthen its forces in the area of the Sea of Azov. In June, Russia sent five warships of the Caspian Flotilla to European waters. Even though the Caspian Sea constitutes a closed water reservoir, it is possible to access the Sea of Azov through the canals linking the rivers of Volga and Don. First, the reservoir was hit by three combat units and two auxiliary vessels. Then two corvettes were sent across the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea; they were expected to reach the Mediterranean Sea. Two of Flotilla’s biggest vessels, Grad Sviyash and Veliky Ustyug, have headed for Syria. Both units are armed with the Kalibr cruise missiles.
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