Oct 12, 2021
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“Thundering” and “Varshavyanka”: from the stocks of the Baltic – to the battle for Taiwan?

In the photo: the military submarine "Volkhov"

In the photo: the military submarine “Volkhov” (Photo: Valentin Egorshin / TASS)

On October 7, a detachment of warships of the Pacific Fleet as part of the lead corvette of Project 20385 “Thundering”, two diesel-electric submarines “Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky” and “Volkhov” (both – Project 636.3 of the “Varshavyanka” type), accompanied by the Black Sea rescue tug “Captain Guryev” “Passed the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait, as well as the Gulf of Aden and entered the Indian Ocean. Heading to Vladivostok. But perhaps not immediately. However, first things first.

Each battleship in the detachment is a carrier of high-precision missiles “Caliber”, which the headquarters of the Pacific Fleet has already been waiting for, because today it does not have such a remarkable long-range high-precision weapon at hand. For everyone, this is the first long-distance trip in history. Because everyone – only from the stocks. Moreover, the same can be said even about the Captain Guryev (project 22870), which insures a detachment of warships from possible troubles in the ocean, launched in Astrakhan in 2018.

I have no doubt that in a different situation, in such an exemplary state, on the way to their new duty station, our sailors would have visited many ports of the Asia-Pacific region for advertising purposes. Would seem to potential buyers of Russian weapons. At the same time, the crews that went to sea in the Baltic in the first half of August would have a rest.

However, for now, the sailors were only allowed to enter the Russian naval base in Tartus. And even then, most likely, only because recently the situation in the local province of Deraa, where the anti-Assad rebellion quickly suppressed by Damascus, broke out. Apparently, it was not ruled out that Caliber would help our and Syrian troops fighting the Islamists.

But in Deraa, there was little blood and without the assistance of the Pacific. Therefore, I believe they are now given the command “Full speed ahead!” Because now it is incomparably more powerful to bake us in the Far East. And “Thundering” with “Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky” and “Volkhov” were needed there, as they say, they were only yesterday. What’s happening in this region?

Here’s what. Today, the Pacific Ocean around Taiwan is almost blazing. So much so that the United States began to seriously discuss the prospects for an imminent war with China over this island. So, the American portal 19FortyFive published an article by no one Roberta Farley, who believes that in the near future, two global armed conflicts between his country and China are capable of flaring up in the Pacific Ocean one after the other. The knot of confrontation, and at the same time the fuse of a worldwide catastrophe, is just Taiwan and will turn out to be.

The logic of reasoning is as follows. In the first, even the most violent and large-scale clash, the Sino-American contradictions around the island will not be resolved. Even if Beijing is defeated in a new war in the Pacific, 19FortyFive believes, it will not abandon its attempts to reclaim Taiwan. And, mustering his strength, he will take revenge.

If the first to go to the bottom is precisely the American ambitions, then in fear of the growing power of the Celestial Empire as a result of such a deafening victory, a close-knit anti-Chinese coalition will quickly grow around the United States, which, in addition to the United States, will include Japan, South Korea, and Vietnam. Perhaps India and Australia. And then another war will follow on the uncooled ruins of the previous one.

This, I repeat, is not the course of my thoughts, but the American expert Robert Farley. Let’s leave aside their realism. Let us focus on the recent truly unprecedented threatening circumstances around Taiwan, which they are inspired by.

And these circumstances are as follows. Recently, the PRC solemnly celebrated the 110th anniversary of the victory of the Xinhai Revolution, which put an end to two thousand years of imperial rule and led to the creation of the republic. Actually, even two republics. In fact, apart from China, it is also located on the island of Taiwan with its capital in Taipei. And for many decades it has been under the tireless tutelage of the Americans.

At the solemn meeting on the occasion of the anniversary, the President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping called for the peaceful unification of both parts of his country. And he said, “Compatriots on both sides of the Taiwan Strait must join hands to achieve the complete reunification of China and the revival of the Chinese nation.”

It was clear in advance that not everyone agreed with the PRC chairman about the “revival”. And in Taiwan itself and in Washington. Probably, for the sake of clarity, Beijing arranged an impressive military demonstration near the island in advance.

According to the Central Taiwan News Agency, on the afternoon of October 2, 2021, two dozen Chinese Air Force combat aircraft approached the island’s airspace at once: 14 J-16 multipurpose fighters, four Su-30s, and two Y-8 reconnaissance aircraft.

On the night of October 3, over the Pacific Ocean in approximately the same zone, they were replaced by another 12 Chinese J-16s, six Su-30s and one KJ-500 early warning and control aircraft.

On October 4, Beijing’s potential adversaries apparently became even more frightening. According to the Ministry of Defense of Taiwan, on this day, 52 combat aircraft of the PRC Air Force were already simulating a training raid on the island. These include 34 J-16 fighters and 12 H-6 bombers capable of carrying nuclear weapons.

In response, on October 3, the US Department of Defense announced major naval exercises with its allies in the South China Sea off the coast of the Philippines. Near Taiwan, the naval power of six states unprecedented in peacetime was gathered into a single armada. Among them are the American nuclear aircraft carriers Ronald Reagan and Karl Vinson, the British aircraft carrier Queen Elizabeth and the Ise helicopter carrier (of the Hyuga type) of the Japanese naval self-defense forces. A total of 17 warships and more than 15,000 troops, including destroyers and patrol ships from Canada, the Netherlands and New Zealand.

So no one has yet said a word about missile submarines, of which, of course, on both sides in an unknown number are actively operating under the keels of their own squadrons. But you must admit that certain reflections on this matter are prompted by the sensational collision with an unknown object at the depth of the American Virginia-class Connecticut (SSN 22) nuclear-powered missile submarine, which followed on these days – October 2. Moreover, near the Chinese naval base Yulin on the island of Hainan.

Thus, before our very eyes, two unprecedentedly powerful naval and air force groups in Taiwan converged nose to nose so close that reflections on the possibility of a major armed conflict immediately appeared on all continents. As follows from the almost front-line reports cited by us, even countries, to which from Taiwan – almost like the Moon, tried to send their military to the place of impending events. Like the UK, Canada and the Netherlands. But what about Russia, whose interests are directly affected by the military-political storm rising in the Pacific Ocean?

I hope that somewhere in the area of ​​possible collision, just in case, at least one or two multipurpose nuclear missile submarines of our Pacific Fleet are secretly on alert. All that can be stated with confidence: it seems that all our ships of the Pacific Fleet’s far sea zone, capable of almost instantly breaking away from the berths, have been urgently nominated into the Sea of ​​Japan. It was possible, apparently, to scrape together only two units – the guards missile cruiser “Varyag” and the large anti-submarine ship “Admiral Tributs”. Not too formidable next to four foreign aircraft carriers, but at least something.

On Monday, in the same place, in the Sea of ​​Japan, this small Russian detachment, while supporting the following small anti-submarine ships “Metel” and “Iney”, as well as the small missile ship “Razliv”, conducted an air defense exercise with live firing.

Presumably, further actions and the route of movement of the “Varyag” and “Admiral Tributs” will be directly dependent on the nearest events near Taiwan. But you must agree: our order would have looked much more impressive if the corvette “Thundering” and two brand new “Varshavyankas”, hurrying from the Baltic to the Pacific Ocean, had time to join it. A dozen and a half Caliber missiles under their decks, along with 16 Varangian anti-ship P-1000 Vulcan missiles, could become an additional headache for the US 7th Fleet, which is now concentrated near Taiwan.

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