SYRIA – Russia is increasing the strength of its naval presence in Syria upon the invitation of the Syrian government. What’s more, Russia’s Black Sea Fleet is set to be equipped with a new corvette-class ship: the Vyshny Volochek. The sixth of the Buyan class, the Vyshny Volochek hoisted the St. Andrew’s flag (the Russian naval flag) on June 1st to symbolize its incorporation into the Russian navy, Black Sea Fleet spokesman Vyacheslav Trukhachov has reported.
The ship will soon be sent to the Mediterranean off the coast of Syria.
The Vyshny Volochek belongs to the Buyan-M cruise missile corvette class of the 21631 project and is by now considered the only ship of its class in the Black Sea Fleet. These ships are multifunctional and equipped with modern artillery, missile, anti-sabotage, anti-aircraft and radio technology.
Ships of this type have gained worldwide fame since 2015 with the Kalibr cruise missile attack against terrorist targets in Syria from the Caspian Sea at a distance of 1,500 kilometers.
Meanwhile, the editor-in-chief of Contra Magazine, Marco Maier, has suggested that the Mediterranean Sea is no longer “NATO’s lake” dominated by ships of the 6th Fleet of the United States, as Russia has equipped its ships and submarines with Kalibr missiles in a demonstrative show of force. The journalist points out in his article that the constant military presence of Russian ships in the Mediterranean Sea has a rational explanation: for the Russian Black Sea Fleet, this sea is the only outlet to the ocean.
“Like any major power, Russia has its own interests in this [Mediterranean] region and has a very powerful fleet, constantly used to protect them … Moscow must neutralize NATO’s aggressive activity on the Black Sea with a large scale deployment in the Mediterranean being the best way to protect the borders of the Black Sea.”
At the end of July 2017, Russia set up an operational group based in the Syrian city of Tartus. This group acts as a kind of brake that the Russian navy can use against the southern flank of NATO.
Today, all of Southern Europe, which features NATO bases in Italy, Greece, Bulgaria and Turkey, is within range of Kalibr missiles.