Russia could deploy fleet in Mediterranean - Navy commander

The Russian Navy could deploy a permanent naval force in the Mediterranean consisting of five or six warships, Russian Navy Commander Admiral Viktor Chirkov said in an interview with Zvezda television.

"Five or six warships must be permanently deployed in the Mediterranean, to be controlled by the Black Sea Fleet command," Chirkov said.

Defense Minister Serge Shoigu earlier said that the Russian Navy has ample capabilities to form and maintain a permanent force in the Mediterranean.

" A decision has been made to form a control body for a tactical naval force to be permanently based in the Mediterranean,\" Shoigu told military commanders on March 11.

"I think we have ample capabilities to deploy and maintain such a force, which is proof of positive trends in the development of the Russian Navy,\" the defense minister said.

Admiral Chirkov said on March 11 that the Russian Navy has started forming a tactical fleet to be permanently based in the Mediterranean.

The Naval command is currently assessing this plan, he said. "Personnel will be trained and sent to the Mediterranean to assume the fleet\'s command,\" Chirkov said.

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