PARIS, (BM) – Earlier this month, and as tensions escalate on the Russian-Ukrainian border, the Russian Defense Ministry kicked off a period of “combat readiness checking and monitoring.”
In this context, on April 8, the southern military region of the Russian armed forces announced that, from the Makhachkala naval base, the Caspian fleet would transfer ten boats to the Black Sea fleet, however already well endowed, learned BulgarianMilitary.com citing mil.ru and opex360.
Also, in detail, it is a question of transferring landing craft as well as gunboats. The type of boats to be shared has not been specified. But it is assumed that they will take the Volga-Don Canal, which connects the Caspian Sea to that of Azov [and therefore the Black Sea], their dimensions will have to be reduced.
The Caspian fleet has seven landing craft, including six of the “Serna” class, each weighing around one hundred tonnes at full load and one of the “Shark” type. The same fleet has well as five gunboats, including four of the “Schmel” type, displaying a displacement of 70 tons and equipped with a 76 mm gun, three machine guns, a BM-14 rocket launcher, and the ability to lay mines. It also has a “Zhuk” class patrol boat classified as “artillery boats,” armed with two 12.7mm machine guns.
The Black Sea fleet is equipped with five landing craft [including two of the Serma class, two of the Shark class, and one of the BK-16 type, used by the special forces]. But it also has seven “large landing ships” of the old design.
In any event, such a maneuver is not unprecedented. In May 2018, the Caspian fleet had indeed transferred five of its boats to that of the Black Sea. At the time, the Russian authorities presented this decision as being necessary to guard against a Ukrainian attack on Crimea, as tensions mounted over the Kerch Strait, which separates the Sea of Azov from the Black Sea.
According to the Russian Defense Ministry, following this transfer, the ten boats of the Caspian flotilla will participate in exercises which, carried out in cooperation with the Black Sea fleet, will aim to test “the ability to push back naval and airborne assault forces.”
Russia is urgently moving S-400 missile systems to Crimea
Russian media report that Moscow has started hastily transporting and deploying its anti-aircraft missile systems in Crimea, BulgarianMilitary.com has learned. According to the Russian portal Aviapro, Moscow has already deployed several systems in the northern part of the peninsula.
Sources claim that Russia delivered the new S-300 and S-400 in Crimea from other parts of Russia, and according to them, some of the systems have a short range of operation. Photos of the transportation of anti-aircraft missile systems in the Voronezh region around the border with the Luhansk region in Ukraine have been spread on social media.
Analysts note that there has been an increased Russian military presence on the border between Russia and Ukraine in recent days. They do not rule out that the transferred anti-aircraft systems will cover the airspace over Crimea and the area known as the Luhansk People’s Republic.
Military, political scientists claim that Ukrainian hostilities in the Luhansk People’s Republic can begin at any moment, pending only the decree of President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky.
What is happening?
On April 1, Russia began locating a lot of Russian weapons on the border with Ukraine. The Belarusian side noticed similar actions. A Ukrainian journalist was the first to film the movement of military convoys.
The revelation forced the Kremlin to explain after the public learned about what was happening. “The Russian Federation is moving troops within its territory at its discretion; this should not bother anyone; it does not pose a threat to anyone,” said presidency spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
According to him, the Russian Federation is taking the necessary measures to ensure its borders ’security. “You know that along the perimeter of the borders of the Russian Federation; there is increased activity of the armed forces of NATO countries, other associations, individual governments, etc., etc. All this obliges you to be vigilant,” Peskov stressed.
“As for the participation of Russian troops in the armed conflict on the territory of Ukraine, Russian troops have never participated in it and do not participate in it. This is a highly internal Ukrainian conflict, and we, European countries, other countries would not want armed forces of Ukraine, the civil war in Ukraine flared up again,“ said Peskov.
The United States has said it will support Ukraine
US and Ukrainian defense ministers Lloyd Austin and Andriy Taran discussed the situation in Donbas. The US minister assured his Ukrainian counterpart of his readiness to support Kyiv in an “escalation of Russian aggression.” The Ukrainian defense ministry website published this statement on its website on Thursday.
“Lloyd Austin expressed concern over the Russian Federation’s recent actions and conveyed to the Minister of Defense of Ukraine his assurances of his readiness to support Ukraine in the face of the ongoing Russian aggression in Donbas and Crimea. Realization of aggressive aspirations of the Russian Federation in Ukraine” said in a statement.
Taran informed the interlocutor about the military-political situation along the demarcation line with the territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, which are not under the control of Kyiv and in Crimea and around the state border of Ukraine.
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