Russian Navy reinforces its naval group in the Mediterranean Sea

The Russian Navy is reinforcing its naval group in the Mediterranean Sea. Two new submarines with Kalibr cruise missiles joined it. Other warships are to arrive. The Mediterranean group is reinforced on the background of the escalating civil war in Libya and the tanker war in the Gulf, the Izvestia daily writes.

Russia Navy reinforces its naval group in the Mediterranean Sea 925 001 Russian navy cruiser Moskva. (Picture source Pinterest)

The Russian Navy has begun a scheduled rotation of the warships in the Mediterranean. The group will be reinforced by the Moskva cruiser which is completing an overhaul in Sevastopol, Defense Ministry sources said.

It is not quite in North Africa and the Middle East. The situation aggravates in Maghreb. On April 22, Germany joined the naval operation of the European Union at Libyan coast. The IRINI mission began on April 1, 2020. EU warships try to bar arms supplies to Libya and stop human trafficking. Turkish frigates also control the coast and opened fire to support allies from the Libyan government of national accord.

US President Donald Trump ordered to destroy Iranian warships and boats if they pose a threat to US warships. Groups of light ships comprise the main component of Iranian naval forces. The aggravation of US-Iranian relationship resembles the events of 1980s known as the tanker war. The fight against oil transportation emerged as a new type of an armed standoff during the Iran-Iraq war in 1980s. Oil tankers sailing from Gulf seaports came under air strikes of Iraqi and Iranian forces. The Iraqis fired at Iranian tankers. The Iranians targeted tankers with Iraqi oil sailing from Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

Iraq actively engaged aviation for strikes at sea targets. On May 17, 1987, the US Stark frigate was hit by an Exoset missile. Iran staked on light warships and sea mines. Dozens of vessels from various countries were damaged.

The Soviet merchant fleet also suffered. On May 16, 1987, the Marshal Chuikov tanker hit a mine. The Soviet Union sent warships of the 8th squadron to protect its interests in the important region. They comprised Pacific and Black Sea fleet warships which rotated in turn.

Today the US Navy is represented by the fifth fleet deployed in Bahrain. It comprises several warships. The main aircraft carrying forces in the Gulf include warships of the Atlantic and Pacific fleets. The US Navy can rapidly move reinforcements from Italy, Spain and Japan.

Russian civilian vessels need proper protection to safely sail in the Mediterranean and the Gulf. The Soviet Navy was always present in the World Ocean and had a network of bases. In particular, Camranh base was deployed in Vietnam in the South China Sea. Soviet warships could call at Eritrea in the Red Sea and Tartus in Syria in the Mediterranean Sea. There were other bases, but they were all abandoned after the Soviet collapse.

Only the base in Tartus remained. It was a small seaport before Russia engaged in the fight against terrorists in Syria. Now it is an important military facility. Russia also maintains Humaymim airbase in Syria. It thus has strongholds in the region where the interests of global powers clash.

Since 2014, the Black Sea fleet has been reinforced to keep the Mediterranean group. The latest frigates, corvettes and submarines armed with Kalibr missiles can target the Mediterranean area and the Middle East. The Russian Navy still operates warships which participated in sea escorts over 30 years ago. In 1987, the Ladny escort ship protected tankers in the Gulf area. It may sail back to the waters because of the tanker war -2.0, the Izvestia said.