August 3, 2007 / 9:26 AM / 12 years ago

Russia seeks navy presence in Mediterranean

The chief of the Russian navy Admiral Vladimir Masorin looks on during a news conference at the presidential residence in Novo-Ogaryovo near Moscow September 4, 2005. Russia's navy should have a permanent presence in the Mediterranean Sea, Masorin said on Friday, RIA news agency reported. REUTERS/Itar-Tass/Presidential Press Service

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia’s navy should have a permanent presence in the Mediterranean Sea, navy chief Admiral Vladimir Masorin said on Friday, RIA news agency reported.

“The Mediterranean Sea is very important strategically for the Black Sea fleet,” Masorin said during a visit to the base of Russia’s Black Sea fleet in the Ukrainian city of Sevastopol.

“I propose that, with the involvement of the Northern and Baltic fleets, the Russian Navy should restore its permanent presence there,” Masorin said, RIA reported.

During the Cold war, the Soviet navy had a permanent presence on the Mediterranean Sea, leasing a base in Syria, military analyst Pavel Felgenhauer told Reuters.

He said Russia may be seeking to use Syria as a base for its Mediterranean operations. That move may anger Israel.

Russia under President Vladimir Putin has been boosting military spending and reviewed navy strategy.

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