The naval forces: watching over Russia's interests
Today the warship detachments of the Baltic, Black Sea and Pacific fleets perform tasks of naval presence off the Horn of Africa and in the Gulf of Aden, as well as off the coast of Syria in the Mediterranean Sea. The Russian Navy ships are dispersed at designated areas of responsibility; the management of the forces is carried out from the Central Command Post of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces.
In May 2013, Russian Defense Minister, Sergei Shoigu announced the need to form in the Mediterranean a permanent task force of the Russian Navy. The composition of the Mediterranean group on a rotating basis included five to six ships from all four fleets, which are controlled through the command of the Black Sea Fleet. Over the past few months, Russian ships have regularly conducted cruises and exercises in the Mediterranean Sea. The mission of the Russian Navy's group is comprehensive monitoring of the air, underwater and above-water conditions in the area of location, and also, in the event of an escalation of the conflict off the coast of Syria, in solving unexpected problems. For that end, in the near future, it is planned to adjust the composition of the Navy group, so that it is ready for any case scenarios.
Currently, a naval ship detachment, including a major amphibious ship Novocherkassk, the Black Sea Fleet's reconnaissance ship Priazovye, the Baltic Fleet's major amphibious ship Minsk, has replaced on a rotating basis in the Eastern Mediterranean the large anti-submarine ship Admiral Panteleev, the major amphibious ship Admiral Nevelsky, the Pacific Fleet's major amphibious ship Peresvet, and the major amphibious ship Alexander Shabalin, as well as the Baltic Fleet's patrol ship Neustrashimy. The composition of the task force will soon be reinforced by the Baltic Fleet's destroyer Nastoychivy and the Black Sea Fleet's patrol ship Smetlivy.
The Black Sea Fleet' flagship – the missile cruiser Moskva - will become part of the task force known in NATO as ‘the aircraft carriers killer'. Instead of the previously planned entry in the port of Mindelo, in Cape Verde, on the way back from Venezuela, it will go through the Strait of Gibraltar to the Eastern Mediterranean. With the arrival of the cruiser, the operational command of the Navy inter-fleet group is expected to redeploy thereto from the major anti-submarine ship Admiral Panteleev, and Moskva will be the flagship of the Mediterranean group of Navy ships.
In addition to the naval presence, the Russian Navy ships are also involved in solving the tasks of Russian and foreign commercial ships escort to ensure maritime security off the Somali coast. This task, in compliance with the instructions of the President of the Russian Federation and the UN Security Council resolution, have been carried out by the ships of the Russian Navy since the end of 2008. Among those combat units, which happened at various times to participate in this mission, were heavy nuclear-powered guided-missile cruiser Peter the Great, large antisubmarine warfare ships Admiral Levchenko, Admiral Vinogradov, Admiral Panteleev, and Admiral Tributs. The ships' actions were provided by auxiliary ships of the fleet. The first ship to keep watch to protect civilian ships from pirate attacks, was the Baltic Fleet's escort vessel Neustrashimy. The contribution of the Russian Navy in the international community's collective efforts to combat piracy off the Somali coast is highly appreciated by many topical officials of Russia and foreign countries.
According to Deputy Chief of the General Staff, Colonel General Alexander Postnikov, the Russian Navy is a reliable tool in the hands of the Russian leadership, watching over the country's interests.