Russia announced on Thursday that it will keep a fleet of about dozen navy ships in the Mediterranean Sea, a move President Vladimir Putin said is needed to protect his country’s national security.
Putin said the plan should not be seen as saber rattling, but it comes as Moscow is serving as a key ally and arms supplier to Syrian President Bashar Assad during that nation’s civil war. The only naval base that Russia has in the Mediterranean and anywhere outside the former Soviet Union is located in Syria.
Russian ships have been making regular visits to the Mediterranean, but the statements by Putin and other officials mark an attempt to revive a Soviet-era practice, when Moscow had a permanent navy presence in the waterway.
Full article: Putin announces permanent navy presence in Mediterranean to protect Russia’s security (Washington Post)