Naples, Italy. The NATO commander in Europe and UK naval officials are reporting with growing alarm that Russian naval activity since the US misile strikes on Syria, has now reached a level never seen previously in history.
Recent Russian naval activity in Europe now exceeds levels seen during the Cold War, a top US and Nato military officer has warned. US Navy Admiral Michelle Howard has concerns the distributed nature of the deployments could end up “splitting and distracting” the transatlantic alliance.
“We’re seeing activity that we didn’t even see when it was the Soviet Union. It’s precedential activity,” the head of Nato’s Allied Joint Force Command in Naples and commander of US naval forces in Europe and Africa told Reporters.
This past year, Russia deployed its only aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov, to the Syrian coast to carry out bombing missions on rebel groups and Isis as Russian President Vladimir Putin supported Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Admiral Howard said Russia had also increased patrols in the north Atlantic and Arctic region, made significant out-of-area submarine deployments, and increased submarine movement in the Black Sea. This past week, it sent its Admiral Grigorovich warship to the Syrian port of Tartus, which has a Russian naval base there.
Her comments are similar to those of Russian Admiral Vladimir Korolev, who told state media that Russia’s submarine patrols have reached a level of operation not seen since the Cold War as tensions escalate rapidly between east and west.
Naval observers and intelligence profesionals “read” escalations in force as a “language” between nations. Right now they see the current tensions and aggression by the US-NATO coalition as disturbing a sleeping bear, that nothing good will come from.