Russia seems to be determined to further escalate tensions in the Middle-East. On Tuesday, the state-run Interfax news agency reported that the Russian navy had deployed a Kilo-class submarine called Rostov-on-Don off Latakia coast in Syria. The submarine is equipped with cutting-edge Kalibr cruise missiles. Kilo-class diesel-electric stealth submarines are quietest in the world. That’s why NATO calls them the “black hole.”
Rostov-on-Don has an extended combat range
Last month, there were reports that a Russian Kilo-class submarine had been firing missiles at ISIS targets in Raqqa. Moscow had officially confirmed in October that its navy had started firing Kalibr cruise missiles at ISIS strongholds from the Caspian Sea, about 1,500 kilometers away from Syria. The Rostov-on-Don weighs 4,000 tons and boasts of an extended combat range.
The submarine’s smaller size allows it maneuver in shallow waters. According to Russia Today, it has an underwater speed of 20 knots. Russia has significantly increased its military presence in Syria after Turkey shot down a Russian Su-24 fighter plane last month for allegedly violating its airspace. Just a few days after the incident, Moscow deployed the guided-missile destroyer Moskva in Latakia to provide aerial cover to its warplanes. Moskva is equipped with 64 Fort missiles.
Russia already has world’s most advanced air defense missiles in Syria
Russia has also stationed S-400 Triumf, the world’s most advanced air defense missiles, at the Khmeimim airbase in Syria to counter any Turkish aggression. When asked whether Russia had indeed deployed a Kilo-class submarine in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, the Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, “This question should be addressed to the military.”
Soon after a Turkish F-16 shot down the Russian warplane, President Vladimir Putin accused Ankara of “stabbing in the back.” Putin said Turkey should face “serious consequences.” As Turkey defended its decision to down the Russian jet, military experts warned that escalation of tensions between Moscow and Ankara could trigger a major military conflict between Russia and NATO, given Turkey is a member of the Western military alliance.