Russians ready warships for Gulf

Russians ready warships for Gulf

By Joe Baker, Senior Editor

Russia is planning a counter move in the worsening Mideast crisis.

According to The Guardian, a British newspaper, Russia has put three of its warships on standby to head for the Persian Gulf in the next month to protect Russian “national interests” if America invades Iraq.

Central command has ordered Russia’s Pacific fleet to ready two cruisers and a fuel tanker for immediate deployment to the Mideast.

That move will increase tensions between Moscow and Washington because both covet Iraq’s oilfields. Cruisers Marshal Shaposhnikov and Admiral Panteleyev would be used to protect Russian interests in the Gulf if the clash between the U.S. and Iraq escalates.

Both vessels—armed with missiles and reconnaissance gear—have been directed to be ready to go late this month and early in February.

Russia’s largest oil company, Lukoil, lost a very large contract with Baghdad to develop the West Qurna oilfield. It was canceled last month after the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein reportedly learned Russia had been negotiating with Hussein’s opposition.

Military analysts said Russian defense of “national interests” might also reflect the military’s desire to maintain surveillance on both sides in any conflict.

Enjoy The Rock River Times? Help spread the word!