Thursday, 20 October 2016
"JAMIE SEIDEL OF THE NEWS CORP AUSTRALIA NETWORK" WITH "PUTIN SENDING CARRIER BATTLEGROUP TO SYRIA AS SPY SHIPS"!!
President Putin sends carrier battlegroup to Syria as spy ship surveys internet cables
Meanwhile the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov, Russia’s only remaining aircraft carrier, is currently conducting live-fire exercises with its escort vessels in the waters between Scotland and Norway as it makes its way towards the English Channel and the Mediterranean after leaving its Arctic-circle base late last week.
It is expected to remain on-station off Syria for four-to-five months.
Ahead of its arrival, the Russian oceanographic research vessel Yanatar was recently observed passing out of the Black Sea through the narrow Bosphorus Strait. It has since been tracked lingering above major undersea internet cables between Cyprus and Syria in the same waters the carrier battle group is expected to take-up position in later this month.
Meanwhile, Norway’s frigate the Fridtjof Nansen and P-3 Orion aircraft are observing the Russian fleet as it makes its way south. The 55,000 ton aircraft carrier is being escorted by the large battlecruiser Peter the Great and five other warships.
Russia has notified Norwegian authorities that its fleet intends to conduct three days of live-fire testing of its weaponry from later today, warning all vessels and aircraft not to approach a designated sector of international waters in the Norwegian Sea.
Commander Daniel Thomassen, Commanding Officer of the frigate, has told Norwegian media he has so far observed the Russians conducting anti-aircraft exercises and flying-off advanced Su-33 strike fighters from the carrier’s deck.
Military analysts say Russia has no practical need to send the aircraft carrier or cruise-missile armed battlecruiser to Syria to support strike operations there. Syria’s President Assad has already signed-over long-term leases for several large air bases to Moscow.
But the mere disruptive presence of the warships gives Putin the opportunity for some significant political posturing. The impressions generated by of its size and composition alone rivals that of the US Sixth Fleet which is assigned to the region.
“This is a task group which contains two of the most powerful surface warships in the world,” says Kingston University historian and Russian navy observer Dr Alex Clarke.
“The question is though, why deploy all this firepower now? What’s more with a Chinese frigate in the eastern Mediterranean, will that join up with the task group?”
Dr Clarke says such a move would be a demonstration of shifts in the balance of world military power, particularly coming so close on the heels of major joint Russian-Chinese exercises in the disputed South China Sea.
The first such opportunity for posturing will come later this week when the fleet is expected to fly its aircraft while close to UK and French airspace while passing Britain on their way to the Bay of Biscay and the Straits of Gibraltar.
Britain’s Royal Navy is scrambling to assemble sufficient ships and surveillance aircraft to meet and observe the Russian ships as they pass.
But the message is much bigger than that, Dr Clarke says: “They also know that the more stretched western forces are, the more likely they are to get to do what they like.
“President Putin and Xi are laying down markers for the incoming US President; and they are doing so while Barack Obama is still in charge, because they believe he just won’t do anything about it.”
Dr Clarke says the timing also coincides with the pending fall of the Islamic State city of Mosul in Iraq, and the consequent shift in focus towards Syria.
“The war against Daesh will be moving into Syria, more focus will be on there — just as it is, there were will a large Russian led task force off its Mediterranean coast. This is going to shift the balance of power within the area, even more in favour of Assad; simply because it will complicate the task for other nations wishing to support their own allies within the conflict.”
Author and military analyst H.I. Sutton is one of several observers who have noted the unusual activity of a suspected Russian survey ship, the Yantar, in waters between Cyprus, Syria, Lebanon and Turkey in recent weeks.
It’s reported positions have been coinciding with the tracks of three major undersea fibre-optic cables. suggests the extremely slow speed and frequent stopping of the ship suggest it could be deploying a submersible to the sea floor.
Dr Clarke says there is another possible explanation for the ship’s presence: “Even if it is just conducting a hydrographic survey, this could be an advantage for Russian submarines operating in the area, up to date knowledge of the sea bed and currents can help with their ability to avoid detection.”
But this is not the first time fears have been raised about Russian intentions to disrupt the world’s internet traffic.
Pentagon officials last year noted a number of Russian submarines and warships had been lingering in parts of the Atlantic Ocean containing arterial undersea fibre-optic cables.
If these cables were to be cut in such remote locations, it could take weeks — or even months — to repair them.
He said Russia had small covert submarines that gave them the capacity to damage such cables, or attach equipment to tap into their data streams.
Kusnetsov and its escorts are expected to join up to 10 Russian warships already off the coast of Syria before the end of the month. The aircraft carrier is believed to be carrying updated MiG-29K and Su-33 combat aircraft, as well as Ka-52K attack helicopters. The ship is believed to have a capacity of between 40-50 aircraft.
Along with the battlecruiser Peter the Great, two large anti-submarine destroyers will be accompanying the fleet. Russian media suggests ‘several’ submarines will also join the formation.
“Now their tech is not the same level as the West at the moment, but that doesn’t make it necessarily bad — in fact it has some advantages, and the Russians also often pack more in. So when all that is combined these ships have to be treated with a great level of respect,” Dr Clarke says.