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Russia eyes stronger naval presence in Mediterranean   2013-05-12 18:07:00

  The Russian Navy plans to strengthen its Mediterranean task force and increase the number of its warships, Navy Commander Admiral Viktor Chirkov said Sunday.

  Currently, the navy is forming the headquarters of the Mediterranean task force, Chirkov said during a celebration of the 230th anniversary of the Black Sea Fleet.

  "We are selecting and appointing officers to posts in accordance with the headquarters structure. The headquarters will include twenty officers, mainly from the Black Sea Fleet," Chirkov told local media.

  The Mediterranean task force will comprise warships from the Northern, Baltic, Black Sea Fleet and probably the Pacific Fleet, Chirkov said, adding it plans to have five to six warships and support vessels from those fleets starting from this year.

  The number of warships in the task force could be increased, and nuclear submarines may also be included depending on the scope and complexity of future missions, he added.

  Chirkov also highlighted the role of the Black Sea Fleet in defending Russia's national interests in the Black Sea and other areas of the world oceans. The Black Sea Fleet ships will become "foundation" of the Mediterranean task force, said the official.

  Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said earlier that a decision of deploying a permanent task force in the Mediterranean had been made.

  Besides targeting areas, the Mediterranean task force could also fulfill missions in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans if necessary, Chirkov said.

source : Xinhua     editor:: Ma Ting
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