Russian sea movements. As reported by the specialised website ItaMilRadar, the Russian Army tanker Akademik Pashin and the frigate Admiral Kasatonov have crossed the Sicily Strait in their westward navigation from the Syrian port of Tartus. They will likely leave the Mediterranean through Gibraltar and return to Russia.
- Meanwhile, the tanker Kama and the frigate Admiral Gorshkov are expected to enter the Mediterranean shortly via the Suez Canal so as not to diminish the Russian presence.
- Another Russian Navy tanker, the Kola, recently entered the Mediterranean via Gibraltar. It is now in the Ionian Sea, south of Corf, sailing north. “It remains to be seen whether the unit with which it is moving (a Steregushchiy-class corvette?) will enter the Adriatic, where the Combat Strike Group of the [US] Bush aircraft carrier is located, or whether it will remain in the Northern Ionian Sea.”
High alert. Recently, the Italian Navy’s Chief of Staff Admiral Enrico Credendino warned Italian MPs that Moscow is increasing both the number of ships – to numbers not seen since the Cold War – and its unusually “aggressive attitude” in the Mediterranean Sea, upping the tension and the risk of incident.
- In late December, noting the Russian presence, Admiral De Carolis assured that Italian forces are “watching the Mediterranean and closely monitoring these ships.” He also highlighted the ongoing synergy with other Allied Navies operating in the Mediterranean £and with all those other operations – the European Union’s, NATO’s Operation Irini, Operation Sea Guardian and the even more important one that goes by the name of Nobel Shield,” which features the Bush aircraft Strike Group.