The pathetic rust-bucket should have been scrapped decades ago, – but this relic of the old Soviet Union is sailing – very slowly – off to war in the Middle East. Pity the 1,500 crew and airmen.
Putin’s immediate goals are to crush ISIS, secure Assad’s hold on Syria, and neutralize Recep Tayyip Erdoğan – the Islamist president of Turkey, and re-open the passage to the Black Sea.
The Kuznetsov will provide close air support to Russian and Syrian troops, – IF it gets there, – and IF it can remain operational. Even in training operations it has suffered embarrassing mechanical breakdowns of it’s poorly designed and poorly built boilers and steam turbines.
Look again at the belching smoke. That shouldn’t be in a well-engineered ship.
So Kuznetsov will have to operate in the confined waters of the Eastern Mediterranean, where it will be a sitting duck for multiple hostile forces. The Turks, the Israelis, the Syrian rebels, and even the Kurds might be tempted to have a go at her.
And the Russians have no back-up naval force available….
This mission is reminiscent of the ill-fated Russian Baltic Fleet under Admiral Zinovy Rozhestvensky in 1905 – that sailed around Africa, stopping to load their bunkers with fresh coal at various British, French, and German colonies, – before reaching their doom at the battle of Tsushima, – where the waiting Japanese all but annihilated them.
The resulting disgrace to the Czar for losing that battle – and losing the Russo-Japanese War, – set the stage for the Russian Revolution in 1917, and the murder of his whole family in 1918.
If Putin loses Kuznetsov, – it could signal a major upset in Russian politics.
The struggle in Syria and Iraq is enormously complex and multisided:
Assad’s government in Damascus
The Syrian rebels in Aleppo
ISIS – across Syria and Iraq
the Kurds (multiple factions)
Sunni Arabs in Syria and Iraq
Shia Arabs across Syria, Iraq and Iran
Hezbollah in Lebanon
the Americans under Obama….
If ever there was a ship and a crew to be pitied, it is the men of Kuznetsov as they proceed south from the English Channel – toward Gibraltar, and on to their fate the Eastern Med.
Now with just 92 days left in office – do you think Obama cares – or has a clue of what to do….
Do you see why the timing favors Putin – IF… Kuznetsov’s boilers don’t blow out…
UPDATE! Aw Shucks! 3 Nov 2016 Admiral Kuznetsov breaks down in Eastern Mediterranean – has to be towed into Syrian port! Humiliating!
MORE PROBLEMS: Sunday, 13 Nov 2016 Three MiG 29s took off from Admiral Kuznetsov enroute to bomb Syria. One turned around and crashed into the Mediterranean…
Mon, 5 Dec 2016 MORE BAD NEWS…