May 12, 2013
Russia’s Mediterranean task force will comprise 5-6 warships and may be enlarged to include nuclear submarines, Navy Commander Adm. Viktor Chirkov said on Sunday.
“Overall, already from this year, we plan to have 5-6 warships and support vessels [in the Mediterranean Sea], which will be replaced on a rotating basis from each of the fleets – the Black Sea, Baltic, Northern and, in some cases, even thePacific Fleet. Depending on the scope of assignments and their complexity, the number of warships in the task force may be increased,” Chirkov told RIA Novosti.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu earliersaid a decision to deploy a permanent task force in the Mediterranean to defend Russia’s interests in the area had been made.
The Russian navy commander also said nuclear submarines could be deployed in the Mediterranean, if necessary.
“Possibly. In a perspective. They [submarines] were present there during the existence of the 5th squadron. There were both nuclear and diesel submarines there. Everything will depend on the situation,” he said.
The Soviet Union maintained its 5th Mediterranean Squadron in that sea from 1967 until 1992. It was formed to counter the US Navy 6th Fleet during the Cold War, and consisted of 30-50 warships and auxiliary vessels at different times.
This article was posted: Sunday, May 12, 2013 at 4:04 am