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Russian Navy to send permanent fleet to Mediterranean

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MOSCOW (BNS): The Russian Navy will station a permanent task force in the Mediterranean Sea, Navy Commander Adm. Viktor Chirkov said.

Up to five-six warships must be present in the Mediterranean Sea on a permanent basis and control must be exercised through the command of the (Russian) Black Sea Fleet," Chirkov said in an inteview to Zvezda TV network run by the Defence Ministry.

The Russian Navy's Mediterranean task force will comprise frigates and cruisers, as well as support vessels, he said.

The move comes at a time of increased international tension in the eastern Mediterranean due to the worsening civil war in Syria.

According to Chirkov, the issue has been discussed at the Navy's Main Headquarters, with the focus on logistics and training of commanding personnel.

Earlier, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu also said the navy possessed the capabilities to form a workable squadron in the region.

"I believe that we have the capability to form and maintain such a task force", Shoigu said, citing the success of recent large-scale naval drills carried out by the Russian navy in the Mediterranean and Black seas.

Shoigu, however, did not provide a timetable for the deployment, which would need to ensure logistics and maintenance of warships in the Mediterranean.


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