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Russian Aircraft Carrier To Be Active In Mediterranean This Year

Russia's "Admiral Kuznetsov" aircraft carrier cruises near Severomors in 2009.
Russian Navy Commander Admiral Viktor Chirkov says Russia’s only heavy aircraft carrier, the "Admiral Kuznetsov," will be ready to act as part of a naval group in the Mediterranean Sea by the end of 2013.

The ship entered drydock in 2012 to be upgraded and wasn’t scheduled for a relaunch until 2017.

Russia’s only Mediterranean naval base is at the Syrian port of Tartus.

Moscow has been reinforcing its Mediterranean presence as the conflict in Syria has worsened.

In March, warships from Russia’s Pacific Fleet entered the Mediterranean for the first time in decades to become part of what Moscow says is a permanent task force.

That task force also includes vessels from the Northern, Baltic, and Black Sea fleets.

Based on reporting by ITAR-TASS, Interfax, and Ria-Novosti