The Russian Navy has always had a presence in the Mediterranean, but now it has the go ahead to stick around permanently.
Bloomberg reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin has endorsed his Navy's plan to stick around the Mediterranean Sea. More importantly, the Navy will be able to stay close to Syria - a region that's been embroiled in a bloody civil war for three years now. It's said that 16 ships in total will be stationed in the region.
So, why is the Russian Navy staking a permanent presence in the region? Putin says it's to maintain national security:
“This is a strategically important region. We have our national interests here, linked to the need to maintain national security. Resuming a permanent Russian military naval presence in the Mediterranean sea isn’t saber rattling.”
The move isn't all too surprising considering that Russia has been regularly patrolling the area around Syria since fighting broke out in 2010. Earlier this year, the Russian Navy also took part in an exercise involving 36 warships.
Putin says the large scale deployment and permanent presence doesn't equate to "saber rattling," but that's not going to convince some. Those who lived during the Cold War will remember that the Soviet Union stationed its Navy at a Syrian port that's still staffed by Russian naval crews to this day. The port is likely to see a lot more use very soon.
This isn't the first time in recent memory that Russia's Navy has been on the move. The country announced over the weekend that it would resume patrols of Southern waters with its fleet of nuclear submarines.