RUSSIA has said warships armed with advanced cruise missiles will be permanently deployed near Syria in the Mediterranean where rival US military vessels also operate, as tensions between the two major powers escalate in the region.
President Vladimir Putin made a statement on Wednesday during a meeting of top military officials, defense industry leaders and economic officials.
The Russian leader praised his country’s navy in maintaining national security and helping achieve Moscow’s interests abroad.
Emergency Food Supplies
He said: “I will especially note the efficient and coordinated actions of the crews of our ships and submarines during the military operation in Syria.
“The cruise missile attacks and the effective work of the carrier aviation dealt a serious blow to the terrorists, destroying important infrastructure facilities.”
In Syria the Russian navy has helped Syria and its ally Iran battle rebels and jihadists.
Mr Putin added: “The accomplishment of these and other complicated and important tasks was largely possible due to the high combat and technical readiness of the navy.
“The build-up of the navy’s combat potential and the practice of long-distance naval campaigns, exercises and maneuvers should certainly continue.
“This year’s plan includes 102 expeditions of ships and submarines.
“At the same time, with the continuing threat of attacks by international terrorists in Syria in the Mediterranean Sea, our ships armed with Kalibr cruise missiles will be on a constant military watch.”
In 2015 Russia intervened in Syria to help President Bashar Al Assad fend off a 2011 uprising sponsored by the West, Turkey and Gulf Arab states.
Russia’s military presence in the Mediterranean has expanded since then.
Last July the Russian Black Sea Fleet established a Mediterranean Task Force of 15 ships based out of a leased naval facility near the coastal Syrian city of Tartous.
Russia has used it as a platform to launch Kalibr cruise missiles against ISIS.
It also conducted Kalibr cruise missile attacks against Islamist insurgents in Syria’s northwestern, rebel-held province of Idlib.
Russia also announced a new range of weapons are ready to be deployed which include 14 missile regiments receiving new Yars intercontinental missile complexes to replace their old Topol complexes this year.
Putin added the Ministry of Defense would obtain modernized missile-carrying bombers in 2018.
The Russian leader said this would strengthen Russia’s military capabilities and “ensure a strategic balance for decades”.
He added: “Strategic nuclear forces have key significance for defense and security.
“In the course of the year, the air part of a nuclear triad will receive modernized missile-carrying bombers TU-95MS and TU-160 armed with modern cruise long-range missiles Kh-101 and Kh-102.”