Russia ratchets up tensions on the Black Sea by sending ‘carrier killer’ ships
Russia may shortly send three of its missile cruisers to the Mediterranean Sea, raising military tensions that have already been ratcheted up due to a Russian military buildup on the Ukrainian border, BlackSeaNews Editor-in-Chief Andriy Klymenko told NV on Feb. 10.
The ships are part of the 1164 Atlant project (Slava class according to the NATO classification) – the Moscow (Black Sea Fleet 121), the Varyag (Pacific Fleet flagship 011), and the Marshal Ustinov (Northern Fleet 055).
“During the Cold War these cruisers were labeled “carrier killers” thanks to the then-modern P500-Basalt anti-ship missiles they were carrying at the time,” says Klymenko.
“Now they have been equipped with modernized 1000-km range P-1000 Vulkan missile systems able to carry nuclear warheads. Their task will be to block the three NATO carrier battle groups in the Mediterranean.”
Earlier, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced that Russian naval vessels would be moving to the Black Sea, allegedly to engage in military drills “to defend Russia's national interests” and “counteract military threats”. According to expert data, Russia is sending six large amphibious assault ships to the Black Sea.
On Feb. 10, Klymenko reported that Russia had reportedly canceled its plans to block off the Azov Sea portion of their alleged naval exercises.
In early February, Russia also moved patrol boats closer to the Sea of Azov.
Russia began its unprecedented military buildup on Ukraine’s border in October 2021, and now has approximately 140,000 troops surrounding Ukraine from the Russian side of the Russian-Ukrainian border, in Belarus, and in the temporarily occupied territories of Crimea and the Donbas.
In late 2021, Klymenko told The Washington Post that Russia was the dominant power in the Black Sea, and would leverage its marine dominance to put pressure on Ukraine’s coastal regions in the event of a new escalation.
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