Russia holds air defence drills as it plots to regain influence in the Mediterranean

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The Black Sea Fleet’s press office on Tuesday said: “Under the drills’ scenario, the frigate’s air defence alert team spotted a notional enemy’s aircraft approaching the ship, following which the personnel accomplished measures for repelling an air attack.” Russian admiral Makarov is leading naval manoeuvres in the Mediterranean as part of a permanent task force in the region. The Russian Navy’s permanent Mediterranean taskforce is a rival to the US Navy’s 6th Fleet in the region.

Admiral Makarov’s frigate is part of Russia’s Project 11356R/M range of vessels.

The frigates are designed to destroy enemy surface ships, submarines, and ground installations.

They also patrol and defend sea lanes such as those strategic to Russian in the Black Sea and in the Mediterranean.

Russia’s warships are armed with Shtil-1, Palash, and AK-630M air defence missile and artillery systems.

They also have A-190 100mm universal artillery guns, torpedo tubes, and RBU-6000 rocket launchers.

Russia’s aim in the Mediterranean is to redress its loss of influence since Egypt ordered Soviet naval forces out in 1972.

Moscow calls its moves in the region the southern strategy.

The strategy is to project power and minimise the influence of the United States and NATO in the Mediterranean.


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After Vladimir Putin rushed to aid the Syrian regime in 2015, Damascus has allowed Russia to have a permanent naval base at the port of Tartus.

The US is keeping a vigilant eye on Russia’s “southern strategy”.

After Moscow sent forces into Ukraine in 2014, the United States and NATO reinforced the Alliance’s eastern flank.

Last year former NATO Deputy Secretary-General Alexander Vershbow said NATO had neglected to counter Russia’s “southern strategy”.

NATO officials fear the absence of US ships in the Mediterranean is allowing other players to fill the void.

These other forces are Russia and even Syria, Libya, and Egypt.

The US strategy now is to try to deter Russia from increasing its potential in the Mediterranean.

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