Tag: Ships

Russia readies troops for Zapad war games with Belarus

Russia and Belarus are set to stage the Zapad 2017 war games, and the operation’s size is causing concern among Western observers. Moscow’s heavy troop presence has some worrying whether Minsk’s sovereignty is at risk.

Russian troops have been gathering in Belarus since Monday. The Zapad 2017 (West 2017) war games are slated to begin in September, with roughly 12,700 Russian soldiers officially participating, according to Moscow. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg thanked Russian officials for providing them with troop information, but said the games will nonetheless be closely monitored.

Read more: What are Russia’s Zapad war games?

War games exceeding 13,000 troops require the presence of external observers, as stipulated by the Vienna Document, a security agreement among the participating states of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), which includes Russia. Western observers fear Russia will break the agreed limit on troop participation. Opposition voices in Belarus, a Russian ally, worry that Russian troops will remain in the country following the exercises to de facto occupy the country.

Regional concern grows

Russia’s military build up to its West is worrying Belarus’ neighbors – Ukraine, Poland and the Baltic states – which were all under Moscow’s control during the Soviet era. Lithuanian Defense Minister Raimundas Karoblis said there are 100,000 Russian troops that President Vladimir Putin wants to use to “put NATO to the test.”

The Zapad military exercises were previously held in 2013 and 2009

That number may refer to Russia’s total troop presence in the larger region for the exercises, Margarete Klein of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) told DW. The military exercises are taking place both in Russia and Belarus, she said, however a lot of speculation surrounds the operation.

“We just have to wait to see what happens,” Klein said. “It’s difficult to talk in advance about what the numbers may mean.”

Doubting the numbers

Russian military expert Alexander Golz pointed out that the Zapad war games extend beyond Belarus, as the Belarusian military announced they are to stretch from Russia’s Kola Peninsula near Finland to the western exclave of Kaliningrad in the Baltic region. Thus troops are being amassed not just in Belarus, but in Russia as well, he said, adding that Moscow has a history of playing fast and loose with troop numbers.

“Russia had a curious interpretation of the Vienna Document during the conflict in the Donbass,” Golz told DW, explaining that Moscow’s troop deployment to the country’s border with eastern Ukraine was said to be part of a military exercise so that the Kremlin could claim its soldiers’ presence did not exceed the Vienna Document’s limit.

Lukashenko, Putin and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu coordinated for Zapad 2013

Everything above board?

Russia’s Defense Ministry has ordered about 4,000 rail cars, according to media reports, for troop transports to Belarus – more than previous exercises, including 1,000 more than for Zapad 2013, Alexander Alessin, a Belarusian military expert, told DW. Zapad 2017 would remain within the permissible limits, he said, calculating for up to 30 tons of equipment per soldier.

Prospects for Belarusian sovereignty

A post-operation occupation of Belarus is unlikely, Alessin said, because “occupying [Russia’s] only ally would undermine faith in the Kremlin, including with its potential partners.” It would also undermine Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s credibility – at home and abroad, which is in neither side’s interest. Alessin cited Belarus’ denial of Russia’s 2013 request to maintain airbases there.

Lukashenko is unlikely to allow Russian troops to remain in the country following the September maneuvers, Alexander Golz said. For 20 years, Lukashenko has been receiving money from Russia, he said, and therefore has always underscored Belarus’ strategic importance to Russia as an outpost. “As far as Russian military bases in Belarus go,” Golz added, “Lukashenko turned 180 degrees. Interestingly, Putin had to swallow that.”




At least 20 ships take part in Baltic Fleet military drills

Vitaliy Nevar/TASS

About 20 combat and supply ships and one thousand officers and men are participating in the ongoing military exercise of Russia’s Baltic Fleet, the fleet’s spokesman Roman Martov told TASS.

“About 20 combat ships, boats and logistics ships and 50 pieces of military and special equipment, as well as one thousand men are involved in command staff training of the Baltic Fleet,” he said.

Vice-Admiral Aleksandr Nosatov is in charge of the exercises. The main task is to enhance officers’ skills and competence and cooperation by command centers, as well as to practice coordination with other units.

The exercise is being held in accordance with the Baltic Fleet’s combat training schedule for 2017.



Estonia: NATO ships arrive in Tallinn for weekend

The Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 1 (SNMCMG1) arrived in Tallinn for a scheduled port visit over the weekend to to replenish the ship’s supplies and prepare for upcoming exercises.

During the visit the vessels are to make preparations for returning to sea and will give members of the crew the chance to rest for a few days, military spokespeople in Tallinn said. After the visit the NATO ships will remain in Estonia to carry out several exercises and be prepared for the upcoming mine clearance operation.

“The presence of NATO naval units and the clearance of World War era mines will make Estonian waterways safer for us all,” Cmdr. Peeter Ivask, commander of the fleet of the Estonian Navy, said.
Head of the SNMCMG1 Lt. Capt. Gvido Laudups on Friday also visited the headquarters of the Estonian defense forces and the NATO command element and met with Meelis Oidsalu, deputy secretary general of the Defense Ministry for defense planning.

As of June 29, SNMCMG1 is headed by Latvian Lt. Capt. Gvido Laudups, who took over the position from Estonian Cmdr. Johan-Elias Seljamaa of the Estonian Navy. The flagship of the group is the Latvian Navy’s support vessel LVNS Virsaitis. The Estonian minehunter Sakala is also part of the international unit this half-year.


Russia in display of naval might – Navy Day 2017 [VIDEO]

Published on 30 Jul 2017

Russia’s annual Navy Day parade in gives Moscow the chance to display to the world its maritime power and military strength.

Overseen by Russian President Vladimir Putin, the ceremony which traditionally takes place on the last Sunday in July, this year
features representatives of the Baltic, Black Sea, Northern and Pacific Fleets as well as the Caspian Fleet.

Two of Russia’s largest nuclear-powered vessels are taking part in the parade in the country’s second largest city, St Petersburg. A 175-metre-long Typhoon class submarine and the nuclear-powered Kirov-class battlecruiser. Both ships are the largest of their kind anywhere in the world.

In total, about 50 ships and submarines will take part in the parade, while more than 40 planes and helicopters of the naval aviation will fly above the city.

Navy Day parades are scheduled to be held at every Russian naval base and also for the first time in the Mediterranean Sea near the Syrian port of Tartus.

Source: euronews.


Russia: Putin celebrates Navy Day in St. Petersburg [VIDEO]

Published on 30 Jul 2017

Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated Russian marine officers and sailors in St. Petersburg, Sunday, to mark the occasion of Russia’s Navy Day.

Putin praised the troops, saying “Today, the Navy solves not only the traditional tasks, but also adequately meets new challenges, makes a significant contribution to the fight against terrorism, piracy.”

More than 50 ships and submarines took part in the parade, while more than 40 planes and helicopters flew above the city.

Navy Day is celebrated in Russia on July 30 with military parades taking place across the country. The celebration dates back to the Soviet era, having been established in 1939. It was stopped in 1980 then reinstated by Putin in 2003.

Russia’s main Navy Day parade to be held in St. Petersburg

Pyotr Kovalev/TASS

ST. PETERSBURG, July 30. /TASS/. Events to mark the Russian Navy Day, traditionally celebrated on the last Sunday of July, will be held all over the country with the main parade scheduled to take place in Russia’s second largest city of St. Petersburg.

The St. Petersburg parade will be held on the Neva River and in the port of Kronstadt, a municipal town that makes a part of the federal city of Saint Petersburg. Russian deputy Navy commander, Alexander Fedotenkov said the parade will revive the tradition started by Peter I the Great in 1714.

The Russian Defense Ministry said that “for the first time in the entire history of naval parades in St. Petersburg, more than 5,000 sailors from the Baltic, Northern and Black Sea fleets, as well as the Caspian flotilla, will take place in the festivities.”

In total, about 50 ships and submarines will take part in the parade, while more than 40 planes and helicopters of the naval aviation will fly above the city.

Guests of the parade will see the Northern Fleet flagship, the Pyotr Velikiy battlecruiser; the world’s biggest nuclear submarine, the Dmitry Donskoy; and a number of the Russian navy’s newest warships, including the Ivan Gren landing ship, the Admiral Makarov frigate, as well as the Veliky Novgorod and the Vladikavkaz submarines.

China’s Hefei corvette, the Yuncheng frigate and the Luoma Lake support vessel, which took part in the Russian-Chinese exercise Naval Interaction 2017 in the Baltic Sea earlier this week, will also take part in the parade.

PLAN Type 054A Frigate, the Yuncheng, will take part in the parade, alongside the PLAN corvette Hefei and the Luoma Lake support vessel.

On the day of the parade, various naval aviation aircraft will fly above the city, including the Su-33K and the MiG-29K carrier-based fighter aircraft, Su-24M attack aircraft and Su-30SM multirole fighter aircraft, MiG-31BM interceptor aircraft, Il-38 and Tu-124M anti-submarine warfare and maritime patrol aircraft and other planes. The air show will also feature the Ka-52K Katran ship-based reconnaissance and combat helicopters, Ka-27 and Ka-29 anti-submarine warfare helicopters, as well as Mi-8 and Mi-24VP helicopters.

2017 marks the 321 anniversary of the Russian Navy, created on October 30, 1696, by a decree of Peter I the Great.

Source: TASS Russian News Agency.



Russian-Chinese naval drills in Baltic Sea to enter active phase

Russian-Chinese naval exercise Joint Sea-2017 in the Baltic Sea will enter into the active stage on Tuesday, the Baltic Fleet’s spokesman Roman Martov told TASS.

Russian and Chinese ships participating in the drills are leaving the Baltiysk base for designated areas in the Baltic Sea, he said. On Tuesday the personnel will practice artillery fire at surface and air targets.

China delegated three ships for participation in the exercise – the destroyer Hefei, frigate Yuncheng and supply vessel Lomahu.

Chinese Type 052D Missile Destroyer Hefei conducts live fire drills with its Type HPJ38-130 mm naval gun.

The Russian Navy is represented by two corvettes – Steregushchy and Boiky – and the salvage tug SB-123. Different phases of the exercise will involve multi-role deck helicopters Ka-27, tactical frontline bombers Sukhoi-24, military transport planes Antonov-26 and helicopters based on the Chinese ships.

During the active phase of the exercise to be held on July 25-27 Russian and Chinese sailors will practice joint anti-sabotage, anti-aircraft and anti-ship defense measures and assistance to a ship in distress.

Source: TASS Russian News Agency.



Two NATO Ships Arrive at Odessa Port Ukraine

Two NATO military ships arrived at the Ukrainian port of Odessa. This was reported on Facebook from the press center of the Ukrainian Navy.

The two ships are the British HMS Duncan (D37), a Type 45 guided-missile destroyer, which is equipped with the Sea Viper air defence system, with a 48-cell Sylver A50 VLS, carrying a mix of up to 48 Aster 15 missiles (range 1.7–30 km) and Aster 30 missiles (range 3–120 km). In addition the Duncan carries 2 × quad Harpoon launchers for anti-ship strike missions.

HMS Duncan (D37)

The Turkish frigate ‘Yildirim’ was also in attendance.

The Yildirim is a Yavuz-class frigate, outfitted for anti-ship duties and carries 2 Mk 141 quad-pack Launcher for 8 x RGM-84 Harpoon missiles, 1 MK 21 Guided Missile Launching System for 16 x RIM-7 Sea Sparrow missiles, 1 × 5 inch /54 gun and 2 × 3 12.75″ Mk.32 torpedo tubes in triple mountings.

The planned visit includes official meetings with the Commander of the Ukrainian Navy and representatives of the Ukrainian authorities. The ships will be open for citizens of the city and visitors and there will be drills with Ukrainian marines.

Source: Novinite Ukraine.


China-Russia naval exercise begins in Baltic Sea

China and Russia have started their large-scale naval drills dubbed “Joint Sea 2017” in the Baltic Sea. The exercises will involve jets, helicopters and vessels.

The Chinese Navy is represented by one of its most advanced missile destroyers, the Hefei, as well as missile frigate Yuncheng and the Luomahu supply ship. CGTN’s Daria Bondarchuk reported the two countries want to increase cooperation and efficiency in protecting security at sea.

An opening ceremony of China-Russia naval exercise is held in Russia’s Baltic city, on July 22, 2017. [Photo: China Plus/Sun Juan]
According to the report, the naval forces of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army arrived in Russia on Friday. A welcoming ceremony was held in Baltiysk in northern Russia. The Chinese and the Russian navies are set to hold a series of drills as part of the “Joint Sea 2017” exercise program. A dozen vessels of different classes, as well as some 10 aircraft and helicopters from both sides are scheduled to take part in the first leg of the drills throughout next week.

The Joint Sea naval exercises were held for the first time in 2012. This year they will stretch into autumn. In September the second phase of the navy drills will begin in the Sea of Okhotsk and the Sea of Japan.

Source: China.org.cn


Russia intends to become world’s second most capable Naval Power

The Admiral Kuznetsov Aircraft Carrier leads the Russian Northern Fleet Task Force into the Mediterranean, bound for operations in Syria.

Russia will strive to see its Navy world second in combat capabilities, say the Fundamentals of Russia’s State Naval Policy Through 2030 approved by President Vladimir Putin’s decree on Thursday.

“The Russian Federation will not allow overwhelming superiority of foreign countries’ navies over its Navy and will aspire to ensure a second world rank in combat capabilities,” says the document.

During times of peace and in the wake of an immediate threat or aggression, the Russian Navy should be capable of preventing any pressure and aggression against Russia and its allies both in oceanic and maritime routes and of deploying forces (troops) promptly and secretly in remote areas of the World Ocean. The Navy should be capable of providing sustainable, covert and uninterrupted command in a real time mode over the forces (troops) that can be stationed in any area of the World Ocean at the time.

Russian Naval Infantry land on Baltic Sea Coast.

During a war, the Navy should be capable of inflicting unacceptable damage to the adversary with the aim to coerce them into halting hostilities under conditions that secure Russia’s national interests.

US ‘global strike’ concept poses direct threat to Russia’s security

The Russian Navy is a major effective instrument of strategic containment, including against the US ‘global strike’ concept that poses a direct threat to international and Russia’s security, according to the document.

The document notes that the role of armed forces in the struggle for leadership in the oceanic and sea directions increases in the 21st century and “the navies of world powers are able with their actions from the sea to change the course of the armed struggle and the war outcome as a whole.”

“A confirmation of this is the ‘global strike’ concept, which has been developed by the United States and which poses a new challenge to international security and directly threatens the military security of the Russian Federation. An important role in the implementation of this concept is attached to naval forces,” the Fundamentals of Russia’s State Naval Policy say.

Russian Navy Akula-class Submarine are armed with Kalibr cruise missiles.

The document stresses that the Russian Navy is “one of the most effective instruments of strategic (nuclear and conventional) containment, including of the prevention of a ‘global strike.’”

This is ensured by the presence of naval strategic nuclear forces and general-purpose naval forces in the Navy, and also by the possibility of realizing the Russian Navy’s combat potential “practically in any area of the World Ocean” and the ability of naval groupings to deploy “within short time limits” in the areas of the emergence of conflict situations and the ability of their long stay there “without breaching the sovereignty of other states,” and also by the high degree of preparedness for operations, including for delivering strikes against an enemy’s critically important facilities.”

Precision weapons

The document also notes that with the development of precision weapons, the Navy faces “a qualitatively new task of destroying an enemy’s military and economic potential by striking its vital facilities from the sea.”

“The availability of a sufficient amount of precision weapons and the possibility to use them by various methods will help ensure the containment of large-scale military operations against the Russian federation,” the document says.

Strategic containment basic elements

According to the document, nuclear and conventional containment are the basic elements of the system of strategic deterrence while general-purpose naval forces play an important role in accomplishing strategic containment tasks.

“Amid an escalating military conflict, the demonstration of preparedness and resolve to use force with the employment of non-strategic nuclear weapons is an effective deterrence factor,” the Fundamentals say.

Elements of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet on maneuvers.

The document defines the basic naval tasks for the prevention of military conflicts and strategic deterrence: continuously assessing and forecasting the military and political situation in the World Ocean, maintaining strategic stability in this sphere, keeping the naval forces ready for operations in strategically important areas, providing for the possibility for warships to use weapons, including long-range precision weapons, “against any potential enemy,” performing maneuvers and “regular under-ice operation of nuclear-powered submarines,” raising the Black Sea Fleet’s operational and combat capabilities by way of developing a joint force grouping on the Crimean peninsula, and also ensuring Russia’s permanent naval presence in the Mediterranean Sea and other strategically important areas.

Source: TASS Russian News Agency.





USS Milius deployment to Japan delayed amid ‘incredible’ workload in Asia-Pacific

USS Milius DDG69. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Mark Patterson II (RELEASED)

YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — The destroyer USS Milius’ forward deployment to Japan has been pushed back to 2018, despite a need for additional ships in the busy Asia-Pacific region.

USS Milius, originally scheduled to arrive this summer, was rescheduled so the ship can undergo additional testing and certification, the Navy said Thursday in a statement. Naval Surface Forces delayed the ship’s arrival to complete the ship’s maintenance and modernization.

The announcement comes at a time when 7th Fleet is already down a destroyer. The USS Fitzgerald has been undergoing extensive repairs since a June 17 collision with a cargo ship killed seven sailors and severely damaged the ship.

“I am concerned about the number of ships that we have out here,” Pacific Fleet Commander Adm. Scott Swift said in an interview with Stars and Stripes on June 26. “Milius was coming out to help get us down to the [operations] tempo that we can really sustain. We’ve got such an incredible amount of work out here that I need Milius plus another ship to backfill behind Fitzgerald.”

Source: Stars and Stripes.