A Russian lawmaker recommends acquiring Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning

admiral kuznetsov, russia’s sole aircraft carrier, has recently run into a lot of issues. the liaoning aircraft carrier, which the soviet union designed and 25 years ago sold to china, was recently proposed for purchase by a russian lawmaker.

Admiral kuznetsov

Since its 1985 inception, the Admiral Kuznetsov ship has experienced engine failure, many fires, and shipyard accidents. After the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov’s propulsion failed in 2012 off the coast of France, a tugboat was used to return the ship to port. A crane from the shipyard crashed into the Admiral Kuznetsov in 2018, causing significant damage to the deck. In December 2019, there was a significant fire on the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov that resulted in the death of one person. The ship experienced a fire most recently in December 2022 while undergoing repair. According to the Russian government, the incident caused “minimal” damage.

On January 5, Sergey Karginov, a member of the Russian State Duma’s (lower house) Committee for the Development of the Far East and the Arctic, put out a proposal to purchase the Soviet-built aircraft carrier Varyag from China.

The Varyag was still under construction when the Soviet Union disintegrated in 1991. Ukraine seized control of the Varyag at the time of the division of the Soviet Black Sea Fleet. For $20 million, Ukraine sold China this unfinished aircraft carrier in 1998. The Varyag was transformed by China into the Liaoning aircraft carrier, the country’s first.

In 2012, the Liaoning aircraft carrier was formally put into service. 40 fighter aircraft and helicopters are currently in use on board the Liaoning.


The Shandong, the Chinese Navy’s second aircraft carrier, entered service in 2019. The Fujian, China’s third aircraft carrier, made its debut in 2022. By 2030, China wants to have four or more aircraft carrier combat groups. The Liaoning has been transformed into a training vessel since China is in desperate need of knowledgeable carrier operators for the incoming fleet of aircraft carriers.

Although aircraft carriers were developed by the Soviet Union, they had a different purpose than those of the US Navy. The conflict in Ukraine poses a greater threat to Russia right now than the stationing of naval air units in the Mediterranean or the Pacific.

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