Crisis in Crimea: US raids sixth fleet, Russians arm armored along border


Russia has no intention of invading Ukraine. This was stated yesterday by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov during the meeting in London with his US counterpart.

Russia - added Lavrov - has no intention of invading Ukraine. The meeting was productive, but the disagreements between Moscow and Washington persist. On the possible sanctions feared by the West, Lavrov was clear. The western partners - the Russian minister concluded - are aware of the fact that any kind of sanction against Russia would be counterproductive.

Our position on the referendum is clear - said Secretary of State John Kerry on the sidelines of the meeting - we believe it is contrary to the provisions of the Ukrainian constitution. Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a telephone conversation with the Secretary General of the UN Ban Ki-Moon, explained that tomorrow's referendum is perfectly in line with the United Nations Charter and in accordance with the provisions of international law.

The Crimean parliament declared the country's independence on Tuesday, ahead of tomorrow's popular vote for annexation to Russia. Kiev authorities and international leaders condemned the referendum as illegitimate and accused Moscow of fomenting riots in order to annex Crimea. Meanwhile, the Pentagon deploys the USS George HW Bush aircraft carrier off the Turkish coast. The Russians continue to amass heavy vehicles along the Ukrainian border.


UNITED STATES: six F-15C fighters from the Lakenheath base, in England, lined up at the Lask base last week, at 100 miles from Warsaw, which became the main point of American advanced redeployment by the 2012. Yesterday, another twelve F-16 reached Poland: fighters took off from the US base in Aviano, Italy. A C-130 and a C-17 landed this morning in Poland with supplies and 150 men. The Arleigh Burke class destroyer "USS Truxtun" of the battle group (Carrier Strike Group) of the aircraft carrier "USS George HW Bush", continues to carry out exercises on the coasts of Romania, about 220 kilometers from the Crimea. The US Sixth Fleet based in Italy, made up of the Nimitz "USS George HW Bush" aircraft carrier, the USS Roosevelt destroyer, the USS Philippine Sea cruiser and a nuclear-powered attack submarine, is ready to intervene. The Bush arrived 9 last March in Antalya, Turkey, for a planned stop in the Middle East. The Bush carries eight air squadrons consisting mainly of F-18 Hornet / Super Hornet. In the Mediterranean, at the naval base in Rota, Spain, are the USS destroyers Arleigh Burke and USS Donald Cook. Unknown submarine force, but present The USA could also deploy a powerful assault force formed by 2,400 Marines, thanks to the USS Bataan Rapid Amphibious Intervention Group, which arrived last February in Spain for an eight-month deployment. In Vicenza, finally, there are three thousand soldiers of the 173a Airborne Brigade. The Pentagon does not have a specific anti-tank component and the White House knows this. Because of the cuts in fact, from the German base in Spangdahlem, the Air Force suppressed the 21 A-10 deployed last year. They were the last "warthogs" in Europe. The crisis in Crimea also worries in the future because the cuts to the American defense (by the 2015 the Air Force will cut 500 aircraft), received with enthusiasm until a few days ago, are now beginning to be looked at with suspicion, considering the turbulent global context . The US, however, specify that the aircraft withdrawn abroad will only be 47.

NATO: two Awacs continue to monitor the evolution of the situation, carrying out aerial patrols on Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

RUSSIA: the 98a Airborne Division made up of four thousand paratroopers supported by an unknown number of heavy vehicles, is on alert from 96 hours. In an exercise, which took place yesterday, 350 paratroopers simulated an assault at an enemy airport, then preparing the latter for the airborne invasion forces. The exercise took place in the New Siberia Islands archipelago. 16 Mig-29K were deployed at the Russian air base in Eerebuni, Armenia. Six Su-27 Flanker fighters have landed at the Baranavicy airbase in Belarus. Belarus (which had requested at least twelve fighters) already hosts four Su-27, as required by the joint protection agreement between the two countries, signed in the 2009. On paper, the Su-27, one of the masterpieces of Russian engineering, is far superior to Western fighters deployed in Poland. Four strategic Tu-95MS bombers, shortly after yesterday's 16, took off from the Ukrainka base for a patrol of 24 hours on the Arctic Ocean. Unknown Russian submarine force, but present. At Kapustin Yar, located about 450 kilometers east of the border with Ukraine, 3.500 soldiers and various air defense systems (S-300, SA-17 "Grizzly" and most likely SA-21) were deployed Growler "). On the border with Ukraine there are, according to some sources, ten to 25 thousand Russian soldiers. Officially, these units are carrying out military exercises in the southern military district.

THE RUSSIAN FLEET OF THE MEDITERRANEAN SEA Since 1 May, all Russian warships in the Mediterranean have been grouped into a single operational task force. The Mediterranean War Fleet currently consists of eleven ships. The flagship of the Fleet is obviously the 'Slava' class missile cruiser, the 'Moskva' carrier-killer. The battle group consists of the 'Udaloy' class destroyer, the 'Admiral Panteleyev', and the 'Kashin-Mod' class destroyers, the 'Neustrashimy' and the 'Smetlivy'. The amphibious assault force consists of the large 'Alligator' class landing ships, the 'Alexander Shabalin', the 'Novocherkassk', the 'Nikolai Filchenkov' and the 'Minsk'. The 'Ropucha' class amphibious assault ship, the 'Yamal' also joined the Black Sea Fleet. Granted the presence of at least two 'Akula' class nuclear-powered attack submarines. Russia increased its naval presence in the Mediterranean after announcing in December 2012 the creation of a permanent war fleet to protect its interests in the region.

RUSSIAN NAVAL STRATEGY Over the next two years, the first of the six class “Varshavyanka” submarines will equip the Black Sea Fleet. These submarines represent a key element of Russian naval strategy in the Mediterranean, where Moscow has recently formed a permanent task force consisting of eleven surface ships. Construction of the “Novorossiisk” submarine began in August of the 2010, followed by the “Rostov-on-Don” in November 2011 and the “Stary Oskol” last August. The Black Sea Fleet does not receive new submarines from 23 years and currently operates only with "L'Alrosa", a "Kilo" class boat entered into service in the 1990.The Russian submarines nicknamed by the US Navy as "Black Holes in the ocean / Black Holes in the ocean" , once immersed they are no longer identifiable. The class "Varshavyanka" (Project 636m) is propelled by diesel-electric engines with very low noise emission and can hit b Go long distances without being detected by enemy anti-submarine radars. The "Varshavyanka" class is an improved version of the "Kilo" (the latter below five knots is invisible to passive sonar), with advanced stealth technology. It has a displacement of 3.100 tons, reaches a speed of 20 knots, can dive up to 300 meters and carry crews of 52 people. The submarines, armed with 18 torpedoes, mines and eight cruise missiles "Kalibr 3M54" (NATO SS-N -27 Sizzler), will perform anti-submarine missions (Hunter Killer) in relatively shallow waters.

Franco Iacch