September 13, 2013
The Russian Navy intends to build its presence in the Mediterranean
Sea – particularly in the area close to Syrian shores – to up to 10
battleships, announced Admiral of the Fleet Viktor Chirkov.
“The task is crystal clear: to avoid a slightest threat to the
security of the state. This is a general practice of all fleets around
the world, to be there when a tension level increases. They are all
going to act on operational command plan of the offshore maritime zone,” Chirkov told journalists on Friday. “Russia will be building up its Mediterranean fleet until it is deemed sufficient to perform the task set.”
Russia began military build-up in the Mediterranean in 2012, and
starting from December last year the Navy established a constant
presence in the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea.
On May 1, 2013 all Russian battleships operating in the area were assigned to a single task force under special offshore maritime zone operation command.
Currently there are seven warships deployed in the area: landing
craft carriers ‘Aleksandr Shabalin’, ‘Admiral Nevelskoy’, ‘Peresvet’,
‘Novocherkassk’ and ‘Minsk’ from Russia’s Black and Baltic Sea Fleets,
as well as the escort vessel ‘Neustrashimy’, and large anti-submarine
ship ‘Admiral Panteleyev’.
According to previous reports, the missile-carrying cruiser ‘Moskva’ passed the Straits of Gibraltar on September 10 and is expected to arrive at its final destination in eastern Mediterranean on September 15 or 16.