I wrote on this issue so much that there is no necessity to elaborate in depth on that. Three TU-22M3s bombers arriving to upgraded Khmeimim base in Syria, like this (courtesy of Russia’s MoD):
Is a message, because today these bombers are being reconfigured into the full-blown anti-ship role and carry three Kh (X)-32 M=4.6 missiles and will carry (if not already) on their TU-22M3M version all nomenclature of modern anti-shipping missiles, including 3 Kinzhals and who knows how many Zircons. This means only one thing–patrols in the Mediterranean and “closing” all of this sea in case of NATO doing a stupid thing. Simple as that. Again, as Al Capone used to say: “one can get much further with a kind word and a gun than with a kind word alone.” Why fix something that works? Exactly.