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MOSCOW, November 2. /TASS/. The voyage of the Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov to the north-eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean Sea is ‘a show of the flag’ and also comes as part of the schedule to rotate troops, the chairman of the State Duma’s defense committee, Vladimir Shamanov, told Rossiya 1 television on Tuesday.
"The seamen have such a notion - ‘show of flag’. Let us consider this operation as ‘show of flag," he said.
"We have a rotation schedule there (in Syria). An aircraft grouping is approaching now, the arrival of other Naval groups is also planned when combat tasks will be trained," Shamanov said.
He expressed doubts that the Admiral Kuznetsov would be used in operations near Aleppo. "If intentions had been as such, there would have been at least two or three large landing ships in the group," he said in comments on media reports about a possible offensive on Aleppo with the participation of Russian military.
Earlier, British daily The Times maintained that Russia was allegedly preparing a large-scale offensive on Aleppo.
Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov has dismissed speculations by the British daily.
The Russian Northern Fleet’s aircraft carrier group began its voyage to the north-eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean Sea on October 15. According to data of the Northern Fleet’s press office, the group comprises the heavy aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov, the heavy nuclear-powered missile cruiser Pyotr Veliky, the large antisubmarine warfare ships Severomorsk and Vice-Admiral Kulakov and support vessels.