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Russia displayed its military strength in the Mediterranean yesterday after warships heading to Venezuela passed through the Strait of Gibraltar in the second deployment of Russian naval vessels in the waterway since the Cold War.
The nuclear-powered missile cruiser Peter the Great, accompanied by the Admiral Chabanenko, an anti-submarine destroyer, as well as a reconnaissance vessel and a support ship, are destined for a maritime exercise with the Venezuelan navy.
En route, however, the aim appears to be to demonstrate to the West and Nato that Russia is once again back in business as a blue-water power.
"It's all about strutting your stuff and cocking a snook at the West, in the same way that the Bears [Russian strategic bombers] have been doing since they began patrolling again," said Andrew Brookes, of the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies.
Jason Alderwick, naval analyst at the institute, said that the Russian warships, which set off from their base at Severomorsk, near Murmansk on the Arctic coast, were Cold War "legacy ships", not the modern vessels deployed by Western navies with advanced communications and surveillance systems.
"This is a case of naval diplomacy rather than a demonstration of capability," he said.
Mr Alderwick said that the only other occasion since the Cold War when Russian warships had passed through the Strait - coming within a few miles of the strategically important British naval base - was last year, when Russia's sole aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov, and five other ships were deployed from Severomorsk.
The dispatching of the Peter the Great was a significant event, he said, particularly because Moscow had clearly decided to make its presence felt in the Mediterranean before engaging with the Venezuelan navy during the exercise.
The Russian naval force is due to call at the Libyan port of Tripoli and the Syrian port of Tartus, which played host to Soviet ships during the Cold War.
Reports suggested that the warships may have made a stop-off in Tartus, but this was not confirmed by Moscow.
The flotilla may also visit the Syrian port of Latakia, where the Russians are helping to build a new facility. The arrival of the four Russian warships in the Mediterranean comes after Moscow's military operation in Georgia.
After the defeat of Georgia in August, Moscow made it clear that it intended to deploy its military on regular manoeuvres around the world.
It has also moved to intensify contacts with Venezuela, Cuba and other Latin American countries. Russia has signed weapons contracts worth more than $4 billion with Venezuela since 2005 to supply fighter jets, helicopters and 100,000 Kalashnikov AK47 assault rifles.
Despite the new muscular approach, there was evidence yesterday of Russian withdrawals from Georgia. Russian troops began dismantling checkpoints in the "security zones" they have occupied in Georgia since the brief war in the former Soviet republic.
Russia is supposed to be pulling back its troops under the terms of a deal brokered by President Sarkozy of France on behalf of the European Union. Moscow has said that it still plans to keep thousands of troops inside the two breakaway regions of Georgia - South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Russia has formally recognised the independence of both regions.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article4887728.ece
 

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People should pay more attention to this stuff.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/36/Kirov-class_battlecruiser.jpg

The Kirov Class is circa 1980 basically an oversized missile cruiser. This ship was built in 1998. The other ship is in port for repairs.

http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/ship/row/rus/1155_1.htm

The Udaloy class is basically a ASW ship.

The political implications of attacking a Russian Warship would be huge. I think the US Navy could win a fight with these ships. However it concerns me that the a lot of are military forces are in Iraq, with a lot of troops coming home, but at the same time leaving for Iraq. The other issue that concerns me is the common sense of border security.

Last time I checked the US Military was bound by numerous laws to directly protect the US Borders!
 

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People should pay more attention to this stuff.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/36/Kirov-class_battlecruiser.jpg

The Kirov Class is circa 1980 basically an oversized missile cruiser. This ship was built in 1998. The other ship is in port for repairs.

http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/ship/row/rus/1155_1.htm

The Udaloy class is basically a ASW ship.

The political implications of attacking a Russian Warship would be huge. I think the US Navy could win a fight with these ships. However it concerns me that the a lot of are military forces are in Iraq, with a lot of troops coming home, but at the same time leaving for Iraq. The other issue that concerns me is the common sense of border security.

Last time I checked the US Military was bound by numerous laws to directly protect the US Borders!
Kirov class is a nuclear powered surface ship. It has an abundant amount of shipwreck SSM missiles. It is still a formidable warship. This is nothing but a military exercise, I dont see what your concern is over. Russia has been trying to flex its muscles since Putin is now prime minister. Venezuela is an OPEC nation and is not very friendly with the US, which is why Russia is taking advantage of this to show boat its fleet.
 
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