World War III Update: Putin sends 2 small warships with long-range cruise missiles in response to NATO build-up of forces in Baltic region

By @vitthernandez on
Serpukhov
The Russian Navy's missile corvette Serpukhov sails in the Bosphorus, on its way to the Mediterranean Sea, in Istanbul, Turkey, October 5, 2016. Picture taken October 5, 2016. Reuters/Murad Sezer

Following reports that alliance defence ministers are pushing the NATO to fill four battle groups of 4,000 troops for deployment to the Baltic area, Russian President Vladimir Putin reinforced the country’s Baltic fleet. He sent two small warships armed with long-range cruise missiles to counter NATO’s build-up.

The warships, Buyan-class corvettes, are armed with nuclear-capable Kalibr cruise missiles, known by its NATO codename Sizzler. Russia says the missiles have a minimum range of at least 1,500 kilometres. The warships are believed to carry conventional warhead, although the missile’s variants could carry nuclear warheads.

The Telegraph cites Izvestia’s unnamed military source who says the Serpukhov and Zeleny Dol, Russian warships, had entered the Baltic Sea and would become part of a newly formed division. In early October, Russia’s Defence Ministry said the two warships left its base in Black Sea to join the Russian naval force in the Mediterranean.

Zeleny Dol The Russian Navy's missile corvette Zeleny Dol sails in the Bosphorus, on its way to the Mediterranean Sea, in Istanbul, Turkey, October 5, 2016.  Reuters/Murad Sezer

Russia is expected to further beef up its Baltic Fleet with the addition of three more small warships armed with conventional missiles by the end of 2020. Also to be added to the fleet are the Bastion and Bal land-based missile systems anti-ship missiles with a maximum range of 300 kilometres.

Serpukhov and Zeleny Dol are both in the Baltic, Sweden’s defence minister have confirmed. He adds Sweden is worried by the presence of the Russian warships in the region amid rumors of another global war erupting.

In July, Putin allegedly fired 150 Russian officers, including Vice Admiral Viktor Kravchuk, for refusing to confront western vessels, The Sun reports. But the speculation in other Russian news sites it that the firing of Russian officers is an attempt to cover up a crash between a Russian submarine and a Polish boat.