Chinese news service photo of USS McFaul delivering humanitarian supplies at Batumi
EarthTimes quotes an Interfax News Agency Russian press release indicating that the Russian Black Sea Fleet is “shifting positions” to the rear.
Elements of Russia’s Black Sea fleet shifted locations on Wednesday in an possible move to avoid a confrontation with a growing NATO warship flotilla near Georgia. Russian naval vessels operating off of Georgia’s coastline had moved from a station in the vicinity of the Georgian port Poti into “Abkhazian territorial waters,” said Sergei Menialo, commander of Russia’s Novorossisk naval base, according to an Interfax news agency report.
The shift took a group of some six to eight Russian warships that had been patrolling near the Georgian port of Poti out of the path of US warships reportedly planning to make a humanitarian aid delivery to the same location. …
NATO led by the US began a dramatic increase to its naval presence in the Black Sea in mid-August, after Russian refusal to abide by a Russo-Georgian ceasefire plan engineered by French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
The NATO flotilla led by the American destroyer USS McFaul already has exceeded ten warships and will reach eighteen vessels in coming days, Kremlin officials citing Russian intelligence said Tuesday.
German, Polish, Spanish, and Canadian warships are among the members of the multi-national squadron being assembled in the Black Sea, according to Georgian media reports.
Russian admiral Sergei Kasatonov admitted the growing NATO naval formation would soon be stronger than the Russian Black Sea warships off Georgia and Abkhazia’s shore, but added the Kremlin could in case of a confrontation deal with the western vessels “using other forms of combat power, including aviation assets.”
Years ago, when I was working on military simulations games, a historical discussion got going within the development group, a gang of hard-core military history buffs, about the threat to US and Nato forces posed by a much-reported Soviet Naval build-up.
“When was the last time Russia won a major naval engagement?” sardonically asked one of the senior designers.
Despite the vast store of expertise on matters of this kind readily at hand, puzzlement ensued.
One authority suggest the Battle of Navarino in 1827 during the Greek War of Independence. But the example was rejected because Russia had merely participated in a combined operation with France and Britain, under British command.
Finally, smiling, one of the most knowledgeable people present, suggested John Paul Jones‘ 1788 victory over the Turks in the Liman arm of the Black Sea. “But, they won’t have Jones in command today, will they?” he concluded, reducing the crowd of analysts and prognosticators to gales of derisive laughter at the idea of what would happen to the Russian Navy if it tried taking on a naval service like our own, one with a firm and unbroken tradition of victory.