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Russia’s Decrepit Flagship Isn’t On Fire, But It Sure Looks Like It Is [VIDEO]

Source: YouTube Screenshot

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Russ Read Pentagon/Foreign Policy Reporter

Admiral Kuznetsov, the pride of the Russian Navy, lurched through the English channel Friday on its way to help kill more civilians in Syria.

The diesel-powered Kuznetsov, Russia’s only aircraft carrier, passed through the channel churning out massive clouds of smoke as it went. British naval assets tracked the half-broken ship and its accompanying flotilla as it passed the United Kingdom. The resulting footage of the lumbering carrier billowing smoke immediately became the laughing stock of the unforgiving Internet.

Some observers compared the ship to a smoking “locomotive” as it passed the coast of southern England.

“Right now the Admiral Kuznetsov, limping through the Channel, belching smoke all the way, is really just one huge, floating Russian metaphor,” tweeted national security expert John Schindler.

The Soviet-era carrier was commissioned on Christmas day, 1990. Compared to most aircraft carriers, the Kuznetsov is relatively young, but poor maintenance over the years has caused it to suffer some serious problems. One seaman died in 2009 when the ship caught on fire and spilled hundreds of tons of fuel into the sea. The U.S. Navy tracked the Kuznetsov while it was deployed in the Mediterranean Sea in 2011, not out of security concerns, but because the Navy was worried it might sink. It is unclear whether the U.S. is keeping a sink-watch on the ship this time around, but Russia did deploy a tug boat just in case when the carrier first set sail.

The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Thomas Phippen contributed to this report.

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