MOSCOW, March 19 (RIA Novosti) - Russia’s naval task force in the Mediterranean will comprise 25 officers as part of its command and control system, a senior Defense Ministry official said on Tuesday.
The officers will be picked from the Black Sea fleet staff, the official told RIA Novosti, adding that the command and control agencies will be based either in Novorossiysk, Russia, or in Sevastopol, Ukraine.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Monday the decision to deploy a permanent naval task force in the Mediterranean had been made. He earlier said the task force was necessary to defend Russia’s interests in the Mediterranean Sea.
Adm. Vladimir Komoyedov, head of the parliamentary defense committee, previously told RIA Novosti that the Mediterranean task force should be comprised of 10 warships and support vessels as part of several tactical groups - attack, antisubmarine, and minesweeping.
The Soviet Union maintained its 5th Mediterranean Squadron from 1967 until 1992. It was formed to counter the US Navy 6th Fleet during the Cold War and consisted of 30-50 warships and auxiliary vessels at different times.