Russian navy ships are transiting the Mediterranean Sea in numbers not seen even in the Cold War, increasing the risk of an incident with NATO forces in the normally stable region, Italy’s top naval officer said this week.
That increase coincides with an “aggressive attitude” shown by Russian naval forces similar to their posture in the Baltic Sea, Adm. Enrico Credendino said Thursday, according to a report by the Italian news agency Ansa.
And the impending arrival of the Russian frigate Admiral Gorshkov, armed with hypersonic missiles, into the Mediterranean after completion of exercises in Africa could further aggravate an already “complex and turbulent” situation, Credendino said in the Ansa report.
The active part of those exercises, which include China and South Africa, is scheduled to end Monday, the Russian state news agency RIA reported Wednesday.
"The risk of an incident is possible, and when there is an incident of this nature, you never know where you might end up,” Credendino said, according to the Ansa report.
U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet did not answer Stars and Stripes’ questions Friday about Russian naval presence in the Mediterranean.
The same month, two Russian fighter jets approached NATO ships in the Baltic Sea at an altitude of about 300 feet and a distance of 80 yards, ignoring query communications, according to a NATO statement.
Open source intelligence analysts recently posted on Twitter and other social media sites that Russia’s naval fleet in the Mediterranean appears to be increasingly active. Previous reports indicated that much of the fleet appeared to regularly be in port in Tartus, Syria, over the past year.
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