Russians Want To Let Go Of 25 Year Old China Deal As Aircraft Carriers Collapse 

With Russia’s sole aircraft carrier ‘Admiral Kuznetsov’ in a grim state, a Russian politician has reportedly suggested that the nation consider purchasing the vessel’s refurbished sister vessel, dubbed the Liaoning, from China, per a report by Business Insider.

The report highlighted that the hull of the former Russian carrier, originally named Varyag, was bought from Ukraine via a Chinese deal following the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1990s.

The Kuznetsov was reportedly launched in 1985; however, it has suffered calamities like engine breakdowns, bizarre shipyard accidents, and fires and is in bad shape. It is unable to move in its power. According to Ukrainian media, it cannot also be towed, as there are fears that it may capsize

Aircraft carrier collapse Russia
Image for representation purposes only.

That is precisely why Sergey Karginov, a lawmaker from Russia, proposed purchasing the former Soviet aircraft carrier from China, even though there is a minimal prospect of that happening, given the fact that China makes use of the Liaoning as a training vessel.

The carrier seems impossible to return to operations in 2024 — it is already several years behind schedule.

Varyag, a sister vessel to Admiral Kuznetsov, was under construction when in 1991, the Soviet Union dissolved. When the ship that belonged to the Soviet Black Sea Fleet was split between Ukraine and Russia, the Ukrainians soon took possession of the Varyag. 

Ukraine sold the unfinished vessel at $20 million to a buyer from China who had claimed to convert it into a floating casino.

After almost sinking while being towed to China, the Varyag reportedly ended up at a naval shipyard. Here, it was allegedly outfitted for the original mission. It was transformed into the Liaoning, China’s first-ever aircraft carrier.

Perhaps Karginov is now mocking the Russian military decline, but his idea is no wilder than the nation purchasing any other carrier.

Russia, historically, has been a continental power whose strength is a massive army. The Soviets had built aircraft-carrying vessels, but the purpose was significantly different from that of the US Navy carriers. 

Russia’s issue now is not projecting its naval airpower into the Pacific or the Mediterranean. It is defeating Ukraine — or at least trying to hold off fierce counterattacks from Ukraine.

Russia’s naval and air power has been unhelpful amid the ongoing war in Ukraine. Its jets have been limited to long-range attacks, and warships have been relatively less active since the Moskva sank.

A 40-year-old aircraft carrier in the Black Sea will not be able to offer significant value. The money could be better spent on new drones and missiles that have effectively bombarded Ukraine’s infrastructure. It is slightly late for Russia to emerge as a carrier power.

References: Business Insider, Yahoo News

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