Dmitry Donskoy, and the Russian Navy's largest surface combatant, the Kirov class nuclear powered battlecruiser Piotr Velikiy, into the Baltic Sea. After leaving port just four days ago, the two vessels have now made their way through the Danish Straits and into that increasingly tense body of water.
The two iconic vessels, both relics of the highpoint of Soviet engineering, have been accompanied by the seagoing tug boat Nikolai Chiker throughout their journey—another reminder that Russia's largest naval ships are not necessarily known for their reliability. This is especially an issue when those ships are moving through tight waterways controlled by wary neighbors, and the world is watching.
Here are some awesome top-down photos from the Danish defense forces of Dmitry Donskoy and Piotr Velikiy as they enter the Baltic Sea (click the tweet to enlarge each shot), as well as a photo of Dmitry Donskoy passing under Great Belt bridge. Both vessels had to take this route because their deep drafts:
The Donskoy has made its entire transit from its berth near the Northern Fleet headquarters in
Severomorsk while surfaced—which is not the most enjoyable way for a submarine to travel. The big submarine has also stayed in loose formation with Piotr Velikiy and their tugboat chaperone.
Force protection around the vessels looks surprisingly light, and a single armed soldier was seen standing alone on the conning tower of the Donskoy.
Both ships, along with roughly ten others from the Northern Fleet and many more from the Baltic Fleet, are to take part in a large naval parade on July 30th in St. Petersburg. The event is being put on to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Russian Navy.
A Chinese naval task force of three vessels, including an example of Beijing's most advanced operational surface combatant, is also set to enter the confines of the Baltic Sea for naval drills with the Russians. This all equates to a huge amount of Russian naval firepower being concentrated in "NATO's swimming pool" at the same time, raising tensions in an already highly tense region.
Contact the author: Tyler@thedrive.com