NATO escorts Russian flotilla en route home from Syria
NATO said it is monitoring the Russian carrier strike group centered around the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov as it sails back home after spending several months off the coast of Syria.
The aircraft carrier took part in Russian military operations in Syria.
Admiral Kuznetsov has been monitored since it left Severomosk in October by ships assigned to NATO as well as ships under national control.
“The Russian Navy is a capable Navy, that’s why their ships are a part of our routine surveillance plans, in the case of the Kuznetsov group, we’ve learned what we can from the group and how it operates,” said Vice Admiral Clive Johnstone, Commander Allied Maritime Command. “We’ll continue to monitor for any changes in behavior and continue to work closely within the alliance to ensure all allied navies are comfortable with the level of surveillance and information flowing regarding Russian Navy assets.”
Admiral Kuznetsov’s deployment to Syria was the ship’s first-ever combat deployment. Russia’s ministry of defense said the carrier and its planes performed 420 sorties and destroyed 1,252 terrorist facilities during their deployment to Syria.
The ship, however, lost two airplanes in crashes during the two months off Syria. Both pilots survived the accidents.