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Putin Orders Black Sea Air Deployment in Response to U.S. Aircraft Carriers Off Israel, ATACMS To Ukraine

Speaking Oct. 18 at the end of his visit to Beijing, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that, in response to the U.S. decision to send ATACMS to Ukraine while simultaneously deploying enormous military assets into the Eastern Mediterranean off the coast of Israel, Russian fighter jets, carrying Russia’s hypersonic Kinzhal missiles, have been ordered on permanent patrol over the Black Sea, to maintain “visual … and weapons-based control” of that Mediterranean area.

Far too little public attention has been paid to his announcement in the West, and there has been virtually zero discussion of its implications.

Putin dropped this bombshell in his Oct. 18 press conference with Russian journalists before leaving Beijing. When Rossiya television channel asked “how will Russia respond” to Ukraine’s using the long-range ATACMS missiles supplied by the United States to attack Russia, Putin, after making several relevant points, delivered his message:

“And, finally, a larger and highly significant, if so far imperceptible mistake is that the United States is becoming more directly involved in this conflict. It is becoming involved—this is an obvious thing. And let no one say that it has nothing to do with this. We believe it has.

“Plus, all of this is happening against the background of the Middle East conflict and exacerbating tensions. They have upped and dragged two carrier task forces to the Mediterranean. I want to say—what I am going to say and inform you about is not a threat—that I have instructed the Russian Aerospace Forces to start patrolling the neutral zone over the Black Sea on a permanent basis. Our MiG-31 aircraft carry the Kinzhal systems that, as is common knowledge, have a range of over 1,000 kilometers and can reach speeds of up to Mach 9.”

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