Hello and hi. Pictured above is Admiral Flota Sovetskogo Soyuza Kuznetsov. Now say that backwards. I dare you. She is an aircraft cruiser (heavy aircraft-carrying missile cruiser in Russian clarification) and serves as the flagship of the Russian Navy. She is old, but she is mighty. Yes, yes she is.
A few days ago Kuznetsov thought it would be a good idea to sail right on through the English channel, on her way to Syria. What on earth? The aging carrier was escorted by the Navy and was accompanied by a tug (this is normal practice, just in case she breaks down.) Aint nobody got time for a breakdown. Not even a boat…I mean, aircraft cruiser.
Kuznetsov is no different to a very old woman…all 61,390 tons of her. I mean no disrespect to old women, but let’s face it, we all get old in the end. Sigh. That being said, Kuznetsov has plenty of ailments. Her plumbing is so bad that many of the lavatories can’t be used. There have been several accidents too. Yikes. Time to jump ship.
Over the weekend, this Soviet-era warship, lead a flotilla of 8 naval vessels to the eastern Mediterrean-where its aircraft are expected to meet a renewed assault on the rebel-held city of Aleppo. Erm…if you are not familiar with Aleppo, we simply can’t be friends. Sorry (not sorry). So Kuznetsov decided to sail right on through the Dover Strait, as she billowed black clouds of smoke. Sir Michael Fallon, the Defence Secretary assured the UK that Kuznetsov was being ‘marked every step of the way.’ Well, thank goodness for the Royal Navy.
NATO officials have indicated that the Russian deployment is the largest of its kind since the Cold War. Its intent is to demonstrate the military might of Moscow. Oh how I love alliteration-don’t you?
Most in the UK were a bit wary about Kuznetsov here in UK waters and commented about the deplorable state she was in. A navy source said, “you only have to look at the smoke she’s belching out to see all is not well.” Indeed. Peter Roberts, a naval expert at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) said “In naval folklore, there’s something called an unlucky ship, and Kuznetsov is undoubtedly an unlucky ship.” My goodness, these navy people certainly do not mince their words. I read that as: Dear Russian people, your ship, I am afraid…is rubbish. Of course Roberts did not say those exact words-but it is kind of what he meant. Yes, yes it is.
Work began on Kuznetsov in 1982 and she was later commissioned in 1990. But since then she has had a plethora of problems-and, as a result, she is accompanied by an ocean-going tug whenever she deploys. In addition, there are other outstanding issues/flaws, as pipes freeze in the winter, so the water has to be turned off. This means tht half the latrines, simply don’t work, according to The Telegraph. Roberts of RUSI ( who is a naval expert and former navy officer) commented “there’s nothing more depressing for a naval captain when he leaves home waters, than to be escorted by a tug…because even your commander-in-chief thinks you are going to break down.” Roberts speaks sense. Yes, yes he does. But Roberts being the fair-minded naval expert that he is, also added that despite the ships’s appearance, she was not to be underestimated, “she’s big, fast and an impressive ship with capable jets and she is going to war in Syria.”
So while Kuznetsov is falling to bits, she is still pretty impressive. Well now, she is exactly like an old woman, isn’t she? Respect.