The possible transfer of the Russian Baltic Fleet's Neustrashimy (Fearless) and Yaroslav Mudry frigates to the Black Sea naval base is connected with combating piracy in the Gulf of Aden, a senior Navy officer said on Wednesday.
Media sources earlier reported that the transfer of the frigates from the base in Baltiisk was being conducted to reinforce Russia's ageing Black Sea Fleet, stationed in Ukraine's Sevastopol.
"It is true that the Russian Navy command is considering dispatching two Baltic Fleet frigates to the Black Sea Fleet. This is because the Gulf of Aden, where pirates are active, is much closer to Sevastopol than Baltiisk. However, the decision has not been made yet," he said.
President Dimitry Medvedev has instructed the Russian Defense Ministry to prepare a plan for the development of the Sevastopol base, which plays a key role in ensuring Russia's presence in the Black Sea region and the Mediterranean.
Russian Navy Commander Admiral Vladimir Vysotsky said earlier on Wednesday that Russia's Black Sea Fleet will be reinforced with 15 new combat ships and diesel-electric submarines by 2020.
The Neustrashimy frigate escorted around 20 commercial vessels in the Gulf of Aden between January and March this year and thwarted at least one attack by Somali pirates. The frigate was the first Russian warship to join international anti-piracy efforts off Somalia in October 2008.
MOSCOW, June 23 (RIA Novosti)