by LeDahu

 

The case of the disappearing ships.

The Russian Navy arrived in St Petersburg, moored on the river Neva, in preparation for the 9 May Victory Day, on the evening of the 3rd May

(Video)

Including the submarine “Kolpino” and the corvette “Urengoy” at night. This was followed by the “Zelenodolsk”, and minesweepers, “Aleksandr Obukhov” and “RT-57”. (Flot com 7 May 17)

“Interfax”, stated that the initial holiday program eight ships and one submarine were listed.  Those already moored on the Neva left their moorings shortly afterwards. (Vesti 9 May 17)

It is not known if a similar situation took place at Baltyisk but certainly some ships left Kronstadt. No official word for the reason at the time, but it is unusual, given that 9 May “Victory Day” is a highly significant day for Russia, more so for the Russian navy in the Baltic. All of this gave rise to a whole host of rumours in the media, including adverse weather conditions. fontanka.ru reported that it was due to the US Navy’s presence of an Arleigh Burke class destroyer, “USS Carney” (DDG-64), in Polish waters. (Guide2Stpetersburg 7 May 17)

Predictably, the Latvians spotted the following Russian ships on their horizon, some 4nm outside of their territorial waters, on the 7th May (Leta 7 May17)

 

NANUCHKA class corvette “Liven” (551), BUYAN-M class “Serpukhov” (603), & TARANTUL class  “MORSHANSK” (824) and the intelligence ship “Syzran”, the next day.

I find that hard to believe that Russia is seriously spooked by the “USS Carney”, which media sources say it is in missile range for Tomahawk to be launched. However the timing of the arrival of the “USS Carney” is hardly auspicious, given that on 5 May, another Arleigh Burke class, “Oscar Austin” arrived in the Black Sea. Indeed the Russian naval ships were put on snap response. It isn’t a coincidence that a large-scale 2-week exercise, “Spring Storm-2017” has started in Estonia  (until 25 May) involving around 9000 troops. (The Baltic States Post 8 May 17)

NB- this is the 2nd Spring Storm exercise mentioned, the 1st was in the Black Sea region in April, but this one is led by Estonia and isn’t on NATO’s list of main exercises.

It has to remembered that while all of this going on on the sea, Kaliningrad region has been put under continuous close aerial surveillance by NATO (& Sweden) scrutiny for a while now, more so on the 9th May no less. In Russian (Interfax 9 May 17)

The Russian Navy spokesman denied that the 9 May naval parade was being cancelled. (RIA 7 May 17) But the Russian Navy ships did not return to the Neva in Petersburg on May 9th.

The “USS Carney” completed the “Joint Warrior” NATO exercise in Scotland in April and FOST training off Plymouth, before calling into the Netherlands.

The USS Carney is part of the forward-deployed US ships based at Rota, USS Donald Cook, USS Porter and USS Ross.

There is an expression in English, the story has legs, since the fact Latvia simply noted the Russian warships outside their territorial waters, one U.K. tabloid picked up on it and spun the story out to make that Putin was testing a poor little NATO member. Another headline claimed they were in “NATO waters”. “Vladimir Putin sends three Russian warships into Nato waters after US vessel arrives in Baltic Sea” ran the headline. A moot point, since NATO membership isn’t recognised as a type of sovereignty under UNCLOS. That’s a new concept, invented 100% by journalists, (probably the same kind that call every warship a battleship). (The Express 8 May 17)

Never mind the fact that a group of ships were traveling from St Petersburg, (Russian territory) to Kaliningrad, (Russian territory) through international waters. So a case of either

“Slow news day” or malicious clickbait headlines?

Journalists who made up stories about Russian ships confronting NATO, couched in aggressive language, ought to be in my personal opinion, the first sent on frontline duty on a small warship. I’ll have them clean out the anchor locker to start with just as an appetiser.  It’s the same kind of idiots who claimed that the “Admiral Grigorovich” was dispatched to confront the USS Ross and USS Porter off the Syrian coast.

It seems that the USS Carney is not the only ship in the Baltic, there is also the “HNoMS Roald Amundsen” seemed to be deployed to the Gdansk area, Poland. (Think that’s a typo in the tweet)

Russian Navy Deployments

 

The Russian Navy ships conducted over 120 tactical and 500 combat exercises over the past six months. (Ruptly 5 May 17)

 

05 May

Russian navy newest class of frigate, project 11356 “Admiral Essen” joins the Mediterranean Squadron. (TASS 5 May 17)  and in Russian (RIA 5 May 17)

The Pacific fleet ships headed by the missile cruiser “Varyag” and oiler “Pechenga” on Friday, arrived in the port of Sattahip in Thailand.

Earlier, the Russian ships visited South Korea’s Busan and Philippines (Manila) and Vietnam. (RIA 5 May 17)

 

Kilo-class Russian navy submarine,Project 636.3, “Krasnodar”, (B 265), on its way to the Black Sea, (or eastern Med), transited through the North Sea,

With RN & Belgium warships as escorts – “HMS Somerset” and “Pollux”.

And then through the Channel

and it is set to arrive at its Black Sea port in June. In Russian (TASS 6 May 17)  A slight detour in Eastern Mediterranean for a couple of weeks or so?

The ships of the Northern Fleet returned from a six-month campaign, the ocean-going tug “Altai” and oiler “Dubna” will return to the Northern Fleet.However, the original lead ship, the ASW destroyer ” Severomorsk” (Sputnik 6 May 17)

was in Limassol, Cyprus, on 6 May, Saturday. Prior to that, the Russian Navy hospital ship “Irtysh” was also seen in Limassol.

The “Korolev” (& the oiler “Kola”) returns to  its Baltic home port after its deployment part of the “Syrian Express”. This is the second one to finish its “Syrian Express” shuttle. Likewise more commercially hired merchant ships & naval auxiliaries routinely shuttle to and fro Tartus and Black Sea ports. (Russian MOD 8 May 17)

Similarly to what is taking place in the Baltic, both Russian Northern Sea Fleet and NATO units are out at sea at the same time, this time connected to NATO multinational Exercise ” EASTLANT 17″.(The Barents Observer 9 May 17)

Missile ships of the Black Sea Fleet also carried out exercises. (Russian MoD 10 May 17)

 

 WestPac

8 May – “USS Ronald Reagan”,(CVN 76), departed its home port Yokosuka, Japan, for sea trials in the region, after 4 months inactivity.  (US Navy 7 May 17)

The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser “USS Lake Champlain”

(CG57) hit a South Korean fishing boat, at noon, no casualties and damage. (Korea Times 9 May 17)

Noon? I could understand at night, especially a wooden boat but during the day? That’s a good ‘un. (Need a meme to counter the sheep jokes and the Liman sinking).

Japan may buy Tomahawks for retaliatory strikes on North Korean missile sites: (The Drive 7 May 17)

For a country with a supposed “self defense” force, this is eyebrow-raising proposal that will greatly erode the concept of “self-defence”. Japan has destroyers that could carry such missiles, however a land-based version is also proposed.

Another US carrier is getting ready for future deployment, the “USS Abraham Lincoln“ has finished its 4-year extensive overhaul and is starting sea trials.

 

The USCG view on Arctic

“Coast Guard Commandant Worried About Armed Russian Ships in the Arctic” … (National Défense Magazine 3 May 17)

Why? It’s none of his business what Russian navy does in its own EEZ…  I can see him going cap in hand for extra funds for the USCG. (Conservative Tribune 5 May 17)

The background to this is the construction of 2 dedicated Arctic patrol vessels by the Russian navy, for use in the Arctic, primarily as an independent deterrent force. Russia does also have a coastguard, similar to the USCG, but that fact is being deliberately overlooked.

More on this in a later Brief.

 

NATO 

North Atlantic 

In a move reminiscent of a pincer attack, a new report, “NATO and the North Atlantic: Revitalizing Collective Defense,” was published in which it outlines NATO’s inferiority over the Russian Navy, especially in the North Atlantic. (yeah you read that correctly). More self-perpetuating fake victim hood complex. The RUSI London-based military think tank includes views from military commanders, ironically including Gen. Breedlove. (When an airforce general gives advice on naval matters).

““We must have command of the sea.” It is a never ending cry for ‘more, more, more’.

 

The Black Sea

Arleigh-Burke class destroyer “USS Oscar Austin”, (DDG-79), departed the Aegean & transited the Bosphorus into the Black Sea on 5 May. (USNI 8 May 17)

 

Other events- update on the US Congress Bill and Russian sea ports

US Congress has included an amendment to a piece of legislation (Bill –  on DPRK sanctions, but added parts on controlling Russian Far East ports. This topic was comprehensively outlined by Scott,(The Saker May 17),  earlier this week. The bill sets out the requirements for the US President on submitting a report on the ports that violate sanctions against DPRK, (including unclassified & classified information). The document also refers to ports in China, Iran, Syria (Tartus and Latakia).

Further insight can be gleaned from a clip from Russian TV, Vesti, (Rossiya 1, May 17), (in Russian with Eng subtitles)

For international legislation on seawater jurisdiction, read UNCLOS, and for airspace activity regulations – read Chicago Convention. This piece of legislation is a precursor for future US capacity to create trouble for suitably targeted countries. I have to yet to read what the response to this was in China.

 

China

The goodwill tour has arrived in Vietnam, where the Chinese naval fleet started its 4-day friendly visit on 6 May. ( Xinhua 6 May 17)

The new Chinese aircraft carrier still needs a name. In the meantime, online Chinese citizens decided on a name for it. Read the unorthodox name chosen in an unofficial poll.

 

9 May Victory Day

С Днём Победы!

We remember – the only female marine commander in the 2nd  world war:

Lastly

US Navy Dolphins taking to the skies …. (Naval Today May 17)

The Essential Saker: from the trenches of the emerging multipolar world