Russian Navy chief Admiral Viktor Chirkov said that there will be a permanent presence of five to six warships from the Black Sea Fleet stationed in the Mediterranean. One or two of these will likely be supply ships to support the guided missile destroyers (as shown in the pic) and other assets.
“Up to five or six ships must be on a permanent basis in the Mediterranean Sea. They should be controlled through the command of the Black Sea Fleet,” Russian TV channel Zvezda quoted Admiral Chirkov as saying.
This represents a wholesale re-organisation of where and how Russian Ships are deployed, with much of the Baltic fleet now stationed in the gulf of Aden on “anti-piracy” duties, and now a significant mediterranean presence from the Black Sea Fleet.
“The decision to send Russian ships to the Mediterranean’s waters was first announced on March 11 by Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu.
“I think that we have everything to create and maintain such a grouping. Certainly, this shows the positive dynamics of development of the Navy,” Shoigu told top officers of the Russian Armed Forces. By 2020, the Russian Navy will include eight missile submarines, 16 multipurpose subs and 54 combat ships, he added.
Chirkov said that top Navy officers are currently in the process of strategizing the deployment of a combat group to the Mediterranean. He also said that Russia is prepared to send combat ships to the Pacific and Indian Oceans.
“There was an experience in the history of the Navy when we had squadrons in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Of course, if needed, we will [advise] the Defense Ministry’s top officials, the government and the President [on the deployment of] task forces on a permanent basis there,” Chirkov explained.
A Russian fleet operated in the Mediterranean Sea from 1967 to 1992. At the time, Russia’s Fifth Mediterranean fleet of Navy ships, consisting of at least 30 to 50 vessels, was intended to counter the US Navy’s Sixth Fleet.” RT reported