Russian Warships Enter Red Sea As Rival US-Led Coalition Patrols

The Russian navy’s Pacific Fleet has confirmed that it sent several of its warships through the Bab al-Mandab Strait and into the Red Sea, at a moment Houthi attacks against international shipping is ongoing, and as the waters are still being patrolled by the US-led military coalition.

Russian defense ministry sources identified that the Russian cruiser Varyag and the frigate Marshal Shaposhnikov are engaged in the patrol mission, but it remains unclear whether additional support vessels are participating as well.

The Varyag missile cruise

State-run TASS describes that the warships are carrying out "assigned tasks within the framework of the long-range sea campaign." The ultimate destination of the vessels has not been disclosed.

The Varyag and Marshal Shaposhnikov had earlier this month participated in joint naval drills involving Iran, China, and Russia in the Indian Ocean - which Moscow described at the time as practicing "safety in maritime economic activities."

But a Russian warship presence in the Red Sea certainly makes the waters a bit more 'crowded' given that the US and UK are currently leading 22-country naval coalition known as 'Operation Prosperity Guardian'.  Other countries include Bahrain, Canada, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, and a number of additional nations have reportedly sent ships as anonymous participants. There have been no indicators that Moscow intends to cooperate with its rivals and enemies in the Western naval coalition.

The question remains whether Russia is sending its warships out of concern that they'll come under Houthi attack. At this point not only dozens of commercial vessels been attacked, but US and UK warships as well, which often must intercept inbound drones. The Yemeni rebel group backed by Iran has long said its goal is to thwart any ships passage which is linked to Israel, the US or UK - and further to prevent commercial vessels' usage of Israeli ports.

However, the Houthis have simultaneously vowed to provide safe passage for Chinese and Russian vessels. But as international reports have noted, some Russian and Chinese vessels have come under attack in rare instances:

Yet, they appear to have misidentified some vessels. Missiles exploded near a ship hauling Russian oil near Yemen in late January. It happened days after a spokesman for the Houthis told a Russian newspaper that Russian and Chinese merchant ships needn’t fear attacks.

The Houthis also fired a missile at Chinese-owned oil tanker Huang Pu on Saturday, US Central Command said, highlighting continued risks to shipping in the seas off Yemen despite the agreement.

But as recently as a week ago, Chinese and Russian diplomats met in Oman with Mohammad Abdul Salam, the spokesman and chief negotiator for Yemen's National Salvation Government (NSG), and "reached an understanding" about safe passage through the Red Sea and beyond.

Moscow and Beijing have made their positions clear against the Western coalition's bombings of Yemen in response to the Houthi attacks. For example, Russia’s deputy UN ambassador Dmitry Polyansky and China’s UN envoy Geng Shuang have previously blasted the US for illegally bombing the Arab world's poorest nation while failing to pressure Israel into accepting a diplomatic solution. Polyansky said in mid-February, "An immediate cease-fire in Gaza will help stabilize the situation in the Red Sea, and the de-escalation in those waters will, in turn, unblock the efforts of [UN special envoy for Yemen Hans Grundberg]."

"I would like to reiterate that the Security Council has never authorized any country to use force against Yemen. International law and resolutions of the council should not be subjected to misrepresentation and abuse by any country," Shuang told the UN Security Council earlier this month.

A Houthi spokesman has also set forth that "There is constant cooperation and development of relations between Yemen, Russia, China, and BRICS states, as well as an exchange of knowledge and experience in various areas. This is necessary to drown the US and the West in [the crisis] around the Red Sea, to get bogged down, weaken, and become unable to maintain unipolarity," he said according to TASS.

(Article by Tyler Durden republished from

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