Russia could also buy back & finish the Varyag at Nikolayev shipyard.
But getting some of the Tu-95s/160s from Ukraine was more important at the time.
Russia would not have tried to do that because at the time they weren't even using the Kuznetsov... where would they get the money to complete the Varyag?
The Bears and Blackjacks were and are much more important.
They don't need two Soviet era aircraft carriers... just one to maintain skills and to perform duties until a proper replacement is ready in the form of a new design CVN.
It might be smaller than the Varyag, but it will be vastly more capable.
not if it is going to be fought with conventional &/ tactical nuclear arms only.
If it earns the title WWIII then there is little chance nuclear weapons will not be used...
Russia seeks to prevent WWIII, only the US tries to find ways to "win" WWIII. Imagine if in the current context Kuz was ready to go, and Russia decided to sail a convoy of ships to deliver aid to Venezuela and Kuz went along to support the convoy. I don't think anyone would dare to mess with it, esp knowing a Yassen class was probably prowling within a few hundred KM. Anything that came within a few hundred KM would be visited by MIG-29 with KH-31.
Exactly... in a WWIII scenario how long would any ship last anyway? During "peace time" having air power to cover your surface ships is critical...
Air power adds a layer of defence that is fast and flexible, and also boosts protection by putting radar into the air so sneak attacks are no longer possible and aircraft can deliver anti aircraft missiles to where they are needed at near supersonic speed, so if you want to overwhelm some ships with missiles you need a rather large number of extra missiles for that to even be likely.
Iran could pay for escorting its tankers on their way there now!
Cheaper to send a small ship like a Corvette... you don't need to sink the US fleet in such a situation, but having an armed presence that may or may not include Onyx and soon Zircon missiles really sends a message.
The imminent threat of a US invasion in Venezuela would mean a Russian presence could blunt that threat... but how long could a corvette stay?
The Kirov with the Kuznetsov and a couple of Udaloys and a new frigate could paddle around there for a month doing exercises and showing the flag and escorting vessels to and from the country...