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Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard

19:22:37
27/10/2016

Tass.ru


Russian aircraft-carrying cruiser “Admiral Kuznetsov”, heading to the Mediterranean, does not need to visit ports for refuelling or resupplying, considers the experts interviewed by TASS.

On 26th October the Foreign Ministry of Spain reported that Madrid, at the request of Moscow, allowed the entry of three Russian ships to the port of Ceuta in the period from 28th October to 2nd November, however, the Russian side withdrew its request.

The Russian Defense Ministry stated that “Admiral Kuznetsov” had not requested permission to visit Ceuta, but only “envisaged the possibility of a business call by individual ships or maintenance vessels”. The official spokesperson of the department Igor Konashenkov said that the Russian group “fully resourced to perform tasks autonomously” and the whole situation “does not affect the plan of the operation in any way”.

The autonomy of the group

“In principle, he (“Admiral Kuznetsov”) shouldn’t need go anywhere, since there are tankers with them. They can go to any friendly port to refuel,” said the former black sea fleet commander Admiral Vladimir Komoyedov to TASS.

According to him, the autonomy of the ship is determined primarily by the presence of fresh water onboard, and “Admiral Kuznetsov” is equipped with water desalination installations.

The Chairman of the All-Russian Movement for Supporting the Fleet Mikhail Nenashev, in a conversation with the correspondent of TASS, said that the Russian Navy has “enough forces and means in the auxiliary fleet, which can provide this group everything necessary for many months to come”.

“The carrier on a month and a half campaign, even without the aid of the accompanying tankers, can go on a distance of 8,000 nautical miles. For our ships, especially such as “Admiral Kuznetsov” or “Peter the Great”, nothing is problematic, for example, standing on an anchor or barrel. They are designed to be autonomous for a long time, but not tied to some kind of refuelling point,” said Mikhail Nenashev, All-Russian Movement for Supporting the Fleet.

A similar view was expressed by the former Pacific fleet commander Admiral Viktor Fyodorov, who now holds the post of chief inspector of the management of the Black Sea fleet. According to him, in the absence of waypoints of logistics support, military seamen take all necessary supplies with them – “food and everything else.”

“The “Kuznetsov” ship group has everything needed to ensure the completion of tasks. It went on a campaign for at least three months, and will be refuelled, so maybe it will stay even more,” said Viktor Fyodorov, former commander of the Pacific fleet, Admiral

“It’s not very decent”

Fyodorov called the media publications about the cancelling of the visit of the Russian ships to the Spanish port speculation. “I think it’s speculation, and it will be eternal, because there is an information war,” he said in conversation with the correspondent of TASS.

Komoyedov said that the position of Western countries is “not very decent”.

“The fact that they – like Spain’s, and all the others, refused at the order of NATO, in naval language, is a mess. It’s not very decent, especially considering that if the entry was planned and coordinated through the Foreign Ministry. After all, we are not asking for it free of charge, we will pay money for the fuel,” said Vladimir Komoyedov, former Black Sea fleet commander, Admiral.

The Chairman of the All-Russian Movement for Supporting the Fleet explained that the purpose of visiting foreign ports isn’t limited to replenishment of supplies, crew rest, and the opportunity to conduct a technical inspection if necessary.

“To a greater extent visits of our ships – a demonstration of military-technical cooperation in practice cooperation of the fleets, the realization of diplomatic relations with various countries,” said Mikhail Nenashev, All-Russian Movement for Supporting the Fleet.

Concern of The West

The ship group of the Northern fleet went on a campaign in the North-Eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean sea on 15th October. The group included Admiral Kuznetsov, the heavy nuclear missile cruiser “Pyotr Veliky”, large anti-submarine ships “Severomorsk” and “Vice-Admiral Kulakov” and support vessels.

The purpose of the campaign, as was reported by the Defense Ministry, is to ensure Russia’s naval presence in the operationally important areas of the oceans. However, the West believes that the aviation group of “Admiral Kuznetsov” can be used for strikes on targets in Syria.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that the Alliance is concerned about “the possibility of using the aircraft carrier group of the Russian Federation for strikes on Aleppo”. Concern about the position of Spain regarding technical support of the Russian ships were expressed by the Defense Minister of Britain Michael Fallon.

Whether Russian ships plan to visit any other ports on the Mediterranean coast instead of Ceuta is unknown. On October 27th, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Malta George Vella said that the group led by “Admiral Kuznetsov” will not carry out a stop in Malta, which is often visited by ships of the Russian Navy.

“The Russian ships will not refuel in Malta,” he said in an interview published on the website of the newspaper “Times of Malta”, and denied reports that an entry into the ports of the country was planned.

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