Russia chose the Syrian coast for its largest naval exercise since the fall of the USSR. The signals this sent are mixed. It was certainly a show of power to Western countries; it could have been a rehearsal for the evacuation of citizens trapped in war-torn Syria. But it also coincided with the arrival of the first of a new generation of nuclear submarines.

NINE days of Russian military exercises in the Mediterranean have been touted as the largest naval show of force since the collapse of the USSR in 1991.

They involved all four of the nation’s sea-going powerhouses – the Northern, Baltic, Black Sea and Pacific Fleets.

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Professor Stefan Hedlund
The exercise comprised 20 surface ships and three submarines, one of which was nuclear powered. Of these, 10 were auxiliary vessels, greatly reducing the impression of projection of raw power
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