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Russia deploys permanent naval force in Mediterranean


08:23, June 07, 2013

MOSCOW, June 6 (Xinhua) -- Russia's Navy would deploy about 10 warships to the Mediterranean Sea on a permanent basis, the Russian Defense Ministry said Thursday.

"The operational force will be comprised of about 10 warships from Northern, Black Sea and Baltic fleets and occasionally from the Pacific Fleet," the ministry's press service said.

The number of warships could be increased if the situation required it, it said.

The naval group will consist of cruisers, anti-submarine ships, patrol boats, landing ships and auxiliary vessels.

The force would monitor the situation in the region, conduct humanitarian and rescue operations, prevent drug trafficking and arms smuggling, and combat sea piracy and terrorism, the ministry said.

"The operational force will implement tasks to protect Russian national interests in the Mediterranean and beyond," it said, adding the experience of the former Soviet Fifth Squadron would be used.

The Fifth Squadron was stationed in the Mediterranean to counterbalance activities of the U.S. Sixth Fleet from 1960s to 1980s.

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