Russia Backs East Med Cruisers With Naval Bombers and Kinzhal-Carrying MiG-31s

Ukraine-related buildup continues

The Russians have deployed Tu-22M naval bombers and MiG-31s to their Syria airbase. The MiG-31s are normally Mach 2.8 interceptors but in this case are carrying the Kinzhal air-launched anti-ship ballistic missiles. While Tu-22Ms come with three giant 5-ton Kh-22 anti-ship cruise missiles with 1 ton of TNT. (Or newer Kh-32s.)

MiG-31s have only ever been deployed to Syria one other time, last July. Tu-22Ms have also only ever been deployed to Syria one other time, last May. This actually required the Russians to upgrade their Syria airbase:

“This is the first time that aircraft of this type are based at the Humaymim airfield,” it said. “Crews of the long-range bombers will acquire practical skills in training tasks in new geographical areas during flights in the airspace over the Mediterranean Sea.”

The deployment was made possible because of a recent renovation of Humaymim’s second runway and the installation of new lighting, signalling, and radio equipment, the MoD said. The runway has also been extended, it added.

These anti-ship aircraft are in Syria to back up the pair of Slava-class cruisers operating in the East Med. The two missile cruisers made the trip from the Pacific and the Arctic respectively.

Dilettants are trying to make the joke that this surely means that Russians have designs on Greece, and think themselves clever, but in fact, this is all about Ukraine.

The Russian way of war (as well as common sense) dictates that local war is prepared by turning the theater into your sandbox. This means deterring other powers from getting involved, or even getting too close. These first-ever Russian anti-naval capabilities in the East Med, projected with the help of the bases in Syria, are there to ensure the Americans don’t get too many ideas.

In this context, Shoigu’s visit to Syria doesn’t mean that his eyes have turned away from Ukraine. To the contrary, he is there to inspect preparations for the war in Ukraine. Preparations which are reality, whether the intent is to go to war, or merely threaten to do so by adopting the appropriate military posture. Shoigu will also thank Assad for Syria’s cooperation on what does not involve its interests directly.

Note the Kinzhal at 0:40:

This Russian Tu-22M deployment to Hmeimim is more evidence that the current buildup in direction of Ukraine was already being planned last Spring. As the Russians were conducting the first “parade” buildup last March-April, which was intended to be seen, they were already upgrading their Syria airbase, and then conducted dry-run deployments in May and July, to allow them to conduct the far more serious and credible second buildup that we are seeing now.

Understand this. The current Russian highly elevated military posture in the direction of Ukraine isn’t some whim. It is something that was decided nearly a year ago.

Russian anti-ship assets in the East Med and the Black Sea consist of:

Surface Groups

Marshal Ustinov group. 1 x SLAVA Class Cruiser, 1 x UDALOY-I Class Destroyer and 1 x Admiral Gorshkov class frigate. Continues to track east at a slow 10 knots. We believe that her most likely destination is Tartus where she may resupply.

Varyag group. 1 x SLAVA Class Cruiser, 1 x UDALOY-I Class Destroyer. Possibly other warships. Active in Eastern Mediterranean

Moskva. 1 x SLAVA Class Cruiser, unreported escorts has been involved in drills in the Black Sea. It is now unclear whether the Black Sea Fleet’s SLAVA class cruiser, Moskva, will enter the Mediterranean as we previously believed.


2 x KILO Class submarines, Krasnodar and Novorossiysk, on patrol in Eastern / Central Med. Exact position not known. To be confirmed.

KILO Class submarine Rostov-na-Donu is now in the black Sea and likely arrived in Sevastopol.

3 x KILO submarines believed to be in Sevastopol and /or now in Novorossiysk.

  1. Steve Ginn says

    Russia obviously has gotten the jump on the Yanks, both situationally and militarily and the Yanks will find themselves outgunned if the come anywhere near Ukropia!

  2. XSFRGR says

    Russia will never be in this position again so just do it ! The U$/NATO can’t stop Russia, and Russia can certainly survive the economic fallout so just do it ! Russia certainly must realize that the future is the East, and that Europe is a degenerate, rotting corpse so just do it ! Don’t keep waiting on the Empire to die because the Empire will lash out in its death throes, and take Russia with it so just do it ! This is Russia’s chance to save humanity from nuclear extinction, and to finally collapse the Empire; JUST DO IT !!!

    1. guest says

      If they don’t do it soon, Vladmir and his crew can kiss themselves goodbye.

      If they do do it, they still have a problem: Russians, White Russians, Little Russians don’t produce enough children to reproduce themselves.

      Subhuman Luka Shenko is importing cultural enrichment to infest the neighbourhood.

      One of the problems in the Soviet Union was that the people in the conquered/occupied territories produced (non-russian, non-slav) children like rabbits.

      People need more than just this pan-slav Peter dream to be happy enough to make 3-4 babies. People gave up on life and the future, and the war-machine cannot cure it.

    2. guest says

      What is the dominant culture in Russia, White Russia, Little Russia ? Is it Slav culture and heritage ? or is it Holywood culture and New York sewer system culture ?

      1. asd says

        learn some history. there is the answer

    3. Jams O'Donnell says

      Try not to be too daft. Putin has everything just where he want’s it, and without needing to fire a shot. When he says he’s not going to invade, – he’s not going to invade. He has NATO and the Yanks running around like headless chickens. All those lies about an imminent invasion will blow up in their faces, leaving them with even less credibility than ever. Why would Russia take on the welfare of a a basket case like Ukraine?

      1. XSFRGR says

        Bismark was right. There comes a time when all of the politics, image, and grandstanding have come to naught, and it’s time for “Blood, and iron !” If Putin backs down without a significant treaty with the West then Putin, and Russia is finished.

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