Russia’s Unsuccessful Show of Force in the Mediterranean

The Russian deployment of its Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier to the Mediterranean Sea was a public show of force, as opposed to an actual strategic move, that didn’t go well, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said Monday. Russia deployed the carrier this fall, and ultimately lost two fighter aircraft to crashes during flight operations. Russia didn’t launch that many aircraft, and the deployment “didn’t go all that well,” James said. However, Russia and Syria did make strategic advancements since the deployment, most notably retaking the long-held city of Aleppo. The two militaries have taken a “different approach to warfare” by not taking “huge efforts to protect the innocent loss of life,” James said. “We go to great lengths,” she added. “We watch. We wait, we expend a great deal of thought, of effort, into ISR. We strike when we’re ready.” Roughly “80 to 90 percent” of Russian airstrikes have been dumb bombs, showing a “say-do” gap by officials who allege they are taking care and striking ISIS. After the Syrian regime retook Aleppo, it lost the ancient city of Palmyra to ISIS. The group was able to claim Russian military equipment, including tanks and anti-aircraft missiles, in the city prompting the US to respond. US aircraft, including A-10s and MQ-1s, have gone in to destroy this equipment, James said.