Just moments ago we reported that in the latest escalation involving Syria, the Russian aircraft carrier Kuznetsov was now sailing past Norway on its way to Syria, where it is expected to arrive in just under 2 weeks. As part of the carrier naval group, Russia also deployed an escort of seven other Russian ships, which we dubbed the “most powerful Russian naval task force to sail in northern Europe since 2014” according to Russia’s Nezavisimaya Gazeta daily reports.
It turns out it it was even bigger, because according to a NATO diplomat cited by Reuters, Russia is “deploying all of the Northern fleet and much of the Baltic fleet in the largest surface deployment since the end of the Cold War,” the diplomat said on condition of anonymity.
“This is not a friendly port call. In two weeks, we will see a crescendo of air attacks on Aleppo as part of Russia’s strategy to declare victory there,” the diplomat said.
An intensified air campaign in eastern Aleppo, where 275,000 people are trapped, would further worsen ties between Moscow and the West, according to the diplomat who added that “With this assault, it should be enough to allow a Russian exit strategy if Moscow believes Assad is now stable enough to survive.”
In two weeks, it is about to get much busier.
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The naval group which includes the carrier and its escort of seven other Russian ships, is the most powerful Russian naval task force to sail in northern Europe since 2014, Russia’s Nezavisimaya Gazeta daily reports. The carrier can carry more than 50 aircraft and its weapons systems include Granit anti-ship cruise missiles.
Next in the flotilla, in terms of firepower, is the Russian nuclear-powered battle cruiser Peter the Great.
The other Russian surface ships in the group are: two large anti-submarine warships – the Severomorsk and Vice-Admiral Kulakov – and four support vessels.
Full article: Russia Is Deploying The Largest Naval Force Since The Cold War For Syria: NATO Diplomat (Zero Hedge)