The Russian Navy has squadron of ten vessels permanently patrolling the Mediterranean Sea, Russian Black Sea Fleet Commander Admiral Alexander Vitko told reporters on Thursday in Sevastopol. Ships of the Pacific, Northern, Baltic and Black Sea fleets make up the squadron on a rotation basis.

“Since the end of 2012, an average of 10 ships and auxiliary vessels from the Black Sea, Baltic and Northern fleets are permanently in the Mediterranean Sea” Vitko said. These operations are commanded by the Black Sea Fleet, supporting this operation with warships and auxiliary vessels, Vitko said. The squadron is supported from the naval facilities located in the Black Sea (Novorossiysk and Sevastopol) and the port of Tartus in Syria. A recent agreement with Cyprus paves the way for Russian naval ships to use Cypriot ports as well.

Last month four Russian naval vessels conducted a joint exercise with the Egyptian Navy, under the ‘Friendship Bridge 2015’ exercise that involved the Moskva guided missile cruiser and the Samum guided missile corvette, and Egyptian frigates Taba and Sharm El-Sheikh. The Egyptians also deployed F-16 jet fighters to simulate air attacks.

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