We detailed yesterday the fact that satellite images showed 11 Russian warships leaving the Syrian port of Tartus. The market initially kneejerked higher on the basis of the belief this was a ‘withdrawal’ or backing-down of tensions, but, as we noted, it was anything but – and now a Russian lawmaker has confirmed this was more offense than defense.
A snapshot of the port of Tartus, shows the Russian warships at anchor before, according to ISI:
And after: a single Russian submarine remains at Tartus.
Interfax now reports that Vladimir Shamanov, the head of the Defense Committee at Russian State Duma, told lawmakers that Russian military ships left Tartus naval base in Syria to ensure their security..
Confirming what we pointed out yesterday, Shamanov noted that it is usual practice for ships to leave naval base and disperse when there’s risk of attack.
This is done to ensure that one enemy munition round doesn’t damage more than one vessel at a time.
Additionally, a Russian lawmaker has confirmed that Moscow is in direct contact with US military staff for Syria.
All of which seems to suggest that the chance of a US (or allies) missile attack is increasing, not decreasing, as Russia’s foreign ministry warned that Washington’s statements threatening use of force are “extremely dangerous.”