Russian naval unit to continue mission in Mediterranean without Black Sea Fleet ships

Russian Black Sea Fleet ships have completed their mission in the Mediterranean as part of an inter-fleet unit including also ships from the Northern and Baltic Fleets, and the unit will continue its mission in the area under a joint command, the Navy Main Staff told Interfax-AVN on Saturday.

"The crews of the destroyer Smetlivy and the landing ships Tsezar Kunikov and Nikolai Filchenkov have completed their combat mission in the Mediterranean," a Navy Main Staff spokesperson said.

The Navy Main Staff had told Interfax-AVN earlier on Saturday that the Tsezar Kunikov and the Nikolai Filchenkov had returned to their base at the Sevastopol port on Saturday morning, and the Smetlivy was in the Sea of Marmara and was expected to reach Sevastopol on Sunday to take part in the final phase of a naval parade marking Navy Day.

The inter-fleet unit will continue performing its duties in the Mediterranean until it receives a special instruction from the Main Staff. "It was planned that the units of ships from the three fleets will meet in the Mediterranean at the end of July to jointly perform emerging tasks. However, this task is no longer relevant," he said.

A unit of Northern Fleet ships including the landing ships Alexander Otrakovsky, Georgy Pobedonosets and Kondopoga and Baltic Fleet ships including the destroyers Yaroslav Mudry and Neustrashimy and the rescue towboat SB-921 are in the center of the Mediterranean now. "The joint unit is practicing combat missions under joint command," he said.

The officer suggested that Black Sea Fleet ships could join this unit if such a need arises.

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