Entire Visible Russian Navy Sails To Syria In Midst Of Ukrainian War
UKRAINE/SYRIA - It appears 'the whole Russian Navy in the Mediterranean Sea (that we know of) sailed to Syria this morning while the invasion of Ukraine was unfolding' according to Defense analyst H.I. Sutton, writer for Naval News. Ukraine is also asking Turkey to cut its straits off to Russian vessels which would essentially be declaring economic war on Russia.
According to Naval News Russia reinforced the presence of its Navy in the Mediterranean a lot more than usual, which, according Naval News could be an outer defense layer for their operations in the Black Sea off of Ukraine. They also said it could be used to deter the involvement of NATO forces.
Naval News says the Russian Navy, including 'their major warships' did provide support in the Ukraine invasion, then were all sailing in 'close formation' and 'appeared' to be sailing to Tartus. Russia currently has a Naval base in Tartus, so it is likely assumed that is where they are headed.
Naval News called the Russian formation 'unusual' and said that it was clearly visible with European Space Agency’s (ESA) satellite imagery. An image of the formation was taken by the Sentinel 2 satellite at 08:40 UTC today according to the news agency (Provided with due credit on our social media).
The news agency said the formation was only 0.9 miles across and 1.7 miles in length, which indicates that all ships are well within 'visual site' of one another. The satellite imagery showing the formation was taken as the Russian naval forces were already within Syrian waters and on a trajectory to the port of Tartus, Russia's naval base in Syria.
Naval News says that the concentration of Russian naval forces means that essentially the entire [visible] Russian Navy is located in one place whereas normally they would be operating in separate groups.
Naval News says they assess that 'it is likely' the ships might have separated once again into different groups, with some sailing to the Black Sea to 'support operations there' and would need to transit through the Bosphorus Strait through waters claimed by Turkey which would be 'controversial'.
Naval News says that Ukraine has put in a request to Turkey to close access of the straits to Russian vessels. Turkey has enjoy good relationships with both Russia and Ukraine. All three countries share a maritime border, as well as access to the Black Sea, and Turkey controls access to the Bosphorus and Dardanelles straits under the 1936 accord.
The accord guarantees free passage to civilian vessels during peacetime and 'restricts passages of ships not belonging to Black Sea countries' according to Reuters.
In wartime, such as is the case now however, Turkey is allowed to close access to the straits off to all foreign vessels. It is also able to refuse any merchant ships owned by countries at war with Turkey access to the straits, as well as the ability to fortify the straits in the case of a conflict.
Turkey relies on Russia for both energy and tourism so it is yet unclear whether they will be willing to close off the straits to Russia. Closing off the straits to Russia would likely be seen as a declaration of 'economic war' by the country since it would cut off roughly 50% of Russian oil exports.
The Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dmytro Kuleba announced that during his call with the Minister of Foreign Affairs from Turkey, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, they discussed practical steps to ensure security in the Black Sea region and stated that Turkey supports Ukraine.
Kuleba's statement said "Call with @MevlutCavusoglu. Turkey supports Ukraine. Discussed practical steps to ensure security in the Black Sea region against the backdrop of Russia’s brutal attack on Ukraine. Ukraine expects resolute actions. Our joint security is at stake now".