01:42 GMT22 February 2020
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    The maneuvers of Russian submarines off the coast of Portugal reported by Portuguese media pose no threat to the country. Those submarines perform routine escorting for Russian naval ships, journalist Nelson Francisco Düring said.

    Recently, the Portuguese newspaper Expresso reported on the inauguration ceremony of new Commander of the Portuguese Navy Vice-Admiral Henrique Gouveia e Melo.

    The article also cited military sources reporting "dangerously increased activities" of Russian submarines near Portugal’s territorial waters.

    "A military source confirmed that an increased presence of Russian submarines has been detected in the region where the Portuguese Navy has its traditional presence," the newspaper reported.

    According to the article, the new commander warned about such underwater threats and said that the navy should be prepared for such situations.

    Nelson Francisco During, editor-in-chief of the defense-themed website Defensa.net, underscored that the remark of the new Portuguese naval commander did not point to the "Russian threat."

    "The new commander is just reviving some of historic issues. He mentioned the threat from submarines but he didn’t say it was Russian submarines," he told Sputnik Brazil.

    The journalist noted that the vice admiral also brought up other possible threats, including border security and migrant flows from North Africa to Europe.

    "As a member of NATO, Portugal traditionally conducted anti-submarines activities in the region. It is the guardian of the Strait of Gibraltar and the Azores. This is why the commander mentioned the submarine threat among others," Düring said.

    The expert also explained the reasons behind the "increased activities" of Russian submarines in the region.

    "Russia’s recent activities near Portugal’s territorial waters is related to escorting Russian naval ships coming to the Mediterranean or returning to their bases in northern Russia. Usually, they are escorted by submarines. And that’s all about Russian submarines there," he concluded.


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