The admiral ustinov, of Russia’s Northern Fleet, led the surface battle group into the Mediterranean in early February and was stationed off the southern coast of Crete, Greece.

The cruiser Varyag, the third ship in the Project 1164 class and part of the Pacific Fleet, was sent in February to operate near the Russian naval base in Tartus, Syria.

The deployment of the Admiral Ustinov and Varyag coincides with increased U.S. and NATO military presence in the region with the USS Harry S. Truman carrier strike group.

The U.S. has deployed the Harry S. Truman aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean since December 2021, with the ship’s air wing sortitting up to 90 times a day.

The Soviet Union began building the Project 1164 Atlant-class cruiser in the mid-1970s to counter U.S. aircraft carriers.