Russian Navy has resumed its constant presence in different regions of the world oceans, Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov told President Vladimir Putin at a meeting in the Kremlin on Wednesday.
"The cruise of ships to the north-eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean starts today and will last till February 3, 2008. The aim of the cruise is to ensure naval presence and create conditions for secure navigation of Russian vessels," Serdyukov was quoted by the Itar-Tass news agency as saying.
The minister said an aircraft-carrying heavy cruiser, two anti-submarine ships and a tanker left for the Mediterranean on Wednesday, where they will be joined by a Black Sea Fleet missile cruiser and a tanker.
A total of four warships and seven other vessels of Russia's Northern, Black Sea and Baltic fleets, as well as 47 planes and 10helicopters, have been dispatched for the mission, Serdyukov said. Three exercises, involving the vessels and aircraft, are being planned.
The ships would make 11 visits and business calls. "It is planned to call at ports of six countries. The ships will cover more than 12,000 miles in 71 days," the defense minister said.
Permanent patrolling by planes of long-range aviation of the Russian Air Force was resumed from August 17 for the first time since 1992 under the decision of Putin.
Russia's strategic bombers have since carried out over 70 patrol flights over the Pacific, Atlantic, and Arctic oceans, as well as the Black Sea, a senior Air Force official was quoted by the RIA Novosti news agency as saying on Tuesday, adding that NATO interceptor aircraft had escorted Russian bombers during almost all their patrols.