Russian Navy Starts Forming Mediterranean Task Force
Text: RIA Novosty
Photo: Public relations service of the Southern Command
The Russian Navy has begun setting up a permanent task force to defend Russia’s interests in the Mediterranean, Navy Commander Adm. Viktor Chirkov said Monday.
"The defense minister has ordered us to form a task force that will operate in the Mediterranean Sea on a permanent basis", Chirkov told reporters after a defense ministry meeting. "We have already started work on this task".
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.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said earlier on Monday that a decision to deploy a permanent naval task force in the Mediterranean had been made.
"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.