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Aircraft carrier to reinforce combat capabilities of Russian task force in Mediterranean

According to Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, the Russian task force in the Eastern Mediterranean currently includes at least six combat ships
The Admiral Kuznetsov Lev Fedoseyev/TASS
The Admiral Kuznetsov
© Lev Fedoseyev/TASS

MOSCOW, September 21. /TASS/. Russia’s heavy aircraft-carrying missile cruiser The Admiral Kuznetsov will join the naval task force in the Mediterranean soon, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said Wednesday.

"At the moment the Russian task force in the Eastern Mediterranean consists of no less than six combat ships and three or four logistic ships from all fleets. To build up the group’s combat capabilities we plan to reinforce it with The Admiral Kuznetsov-led group," Shoigu said a meeting of the Defense Ministry’s board.

Russia’s Navy has been permanently present in the Eastern Mediterranean since 2013, Shoigu recalled.

The Defense Ministry’s board is to consider progress in building seagoing ships capable of carrying long-range high accuracy weapons and measures to complete the testing of the lead frigate of project 22350 The Admiral Gorshkov.

Earlier, in an interview with TASS a military-diplomatic source mentioned plans for sending The Admiral Kuznetsov to the Mediterranean. The official said that deck aircraft would be participating in strikes against militants in Syria. The Russian Navy’s deputy commander-in-chief Viktor Bursuk has confirmed to TASS that The Admiral Kuznetsov was slated to leave on a long voyage soon. The mission would last at least three months, the official said without mentioning where the ship would be on duty.

Last summer The Admiral Kuznetsov underwent overhaul and started testing the upgraded aircraft group that now consists of new deck fighter planes MiG-29K/KUB and Ka-52K helicopters.

The construction of The Admiral Gorshkov (project 22350) frigate began in 2006. It has been in the testing phase since 2014.