Saturday, October 22, 2016
Russian Ships in the English Channel
By Jim Emerson, staff writer
This week, Britain’s Royal Navy deployed warships to monitor the Russian aircraft Carrier Admiral Kuznetsov and other ships passing through the North Sea and the English Channel in route to Syria. The purpose of the deployment is to end the war in Syria before the U.S. elections.
Russia is sending its Northern and Baltic Fleets to reinforce the final assault on the city of Aleppo. Their goal is to eliminate rebel forces and shore up the Assad regime allowing Russia to ends its involvement in the civil war. The extra ships will greatly increase Russian firepower in Syria and will provide additional air defense to protect President Bashar Assad’s army, Russian and allied forces fighting Syrian Rebels, including ISIS.
The additional military firepower is being sent to force out or destroy an estimated 8,000 rebels held up in Aleppo. This is the last, large city in Syria that is being held by the rebels. Recent air campaigns attacking targets in eastern Aleppo, where 275,000 civilians are trapped, have strained the relationship between Moscow and the Obama regime. This push comes at the time when ISIS is being forced out of Mosul. It’s likely that the terrorist groups and so-called moderate rebels will have to retreat to eastern Iraq to regroup.
The Royal Navy and Royal Air Force regularly shadow foreign ships in order to protect Britain’s coast. The Russian deployment is unusual as few counties have the capability to deploy an aircraft carrier and supporting warships through the English Channel. Since the ships are operating in international waters, NATO forces from Norway, the Netherlands and Britain will monitor them as they pass without challenge.
The carrier Admiral Kuznetsov has undergone extensive refit since its last deployment in 2014. On its current cruise, the ship is conducting flight operations to improve pilot proficiency for carrier operations before it takes up its position in the Mediterranean. According to a Royal Navy spokesman, “…the size of the Russian naval force was 'unusual' but…the Russian ships were 'behaving very well,' including booking areas for flying and calling up coastguard stations.