Portuguese navy ships were dispatched last week to monitor three powerful Soviet Navy warships and a flotilla of smaller support vessels.
Portugal’s navy kept an watchful eye as Russian war fleet cruised along Algarve coast, sailing past Portugal’s waters en-route from Syria to Russia.
The aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov headed the trio of Russian warships that sailed along Portugal’s coast between 7pm Friday and 8pm Sunday. At their closest, the fleet came within 26 nautical miles of the coast, while sailing past the Algarve.
Portugal’s navy was asked to accompany the Russian ships’ passage through Portuguese waters under NATO’s Atlantic Alliance agreements. Admiral Kuznetsov had sailed past Portugal en-route from the Norwegian Sea to Syria In October last year.
The Southward movement of the Russian fleet was considered by NATOlast year as part provocative military manoeuvres, especially in the Baltic region as Russian warplanes stepped up patrols near NATO countries’ airspace.
This week’s Russian fleet retreat from the Mediterranean kept observers wondering what were Kremlin’s intentions. The Admiral Kuznetsov is Russia’s only aircraft carrier ,compared with France and Italy, that have two each , while the United States has 10 aircraft carriers.