Photo Credit: Russian Ministry of Defense
Russian aircraft carrier, 'Admiral Kuznetsov'

No one’s admitting it publicly, but in private conversations senior Israeli air force and navy officers are expressing increasing concern over the intensity of the Russian military presence in the Middle East.

“We were surprised by the quantity and quality of the Russian weapons we have seen appearing here,” a source told Israel’s Channel 2 television news in a report that appeared Sunday.

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The issue has dramatically affected the way Israeli air and sea forces plan their strategic operations.

Israeli Air Force and Navy forces were accustomed to carrying out their operations in relative freedom from any real threats up to this point, Channel 2 reported.

But foreign sources quoted the IDF as saying Russian forces have been carrying out reconnaissance missions, attacks on arms convoys, building unconventional weapons arsenals and sailing against distant shores – carrying out large-scale operations with many personnel to gather intelligence without interruption.

At this point, the situation has changed. It used to be customary to say, “If you really want to know what the president of the United States is planning, check where his aircraft are going.”

If so, the Russian aircraft carrier, Admiral Kuznetsov, is sailing in the North Sea on its way to the eastern Mediterranean Sea, with the IDF closely watching its movements. The vessel is expected to dock off the coast of Syria in the next few weeks.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.

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