MOSCOW, November 11 (RIA Novosti)
The Russian Northern Fleet's nuclear-powered missile cruiser Pyotr Veliky was assigned on Monday to lead the country’s permanent naval task force in the Mediterranean.
“The Pyotr Veliky nuclear-powered missile cruiser has joined warships in Russia’s task force in the eastern Mediterranean and is now leading the group,” the Northern Fleet’s spokesman, Capt. 1st Rank Vadim Serga, told reporters.
According to the official, the headquarters of the operational command of the task force, which includes warships from all four Russian fleets, was transferred to the Pyotr Veliky from the Black Sea Fleet’s Moskva missile cruiser on Sunday.
The Moskva has completed its mission in the Mediterranean and is expected to return to its home base in Sevastopol on November 15.
The Russian standing task force in the Mediterranean currently comprises the Varyag missile cruiser, the Smetlivy frigate, several large amphibious landing ships, as well as two reconnaissance ships.
Russia began its military buildup in the Mediterranean Sea last year “to protect its interests in the region.” The Kremlin later said the deployment of the naval task force in the region was prompted in part by the Syrian crisis.