MOSCOW, March 11 (Xinhua) -- Russia has started preparations for the permanent presence of its fleet in Mediterranean, Commander of the Russian Navy said Monday.
"The Defense Minister ordered us to create a large navy operative unit for permanent deployment in the Mediterranean Sea. We have started that work," Admiral Viktor Chirkov told reporters.
He said the personnel have currently been trained for service in that region.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu told an expanded session of the command of the Russian Armed Forces earlier Monday that the Russian Navy possessed all capabilities to form a workable squadron in the Mediterranean Sea.
"We have every opportunity to establish and guarantee the functioning of such a formation. This is indisputably an indication of the positive developing signs of the Navy," the Interfax news agency quoted Shoigu as saying.
Still, the minister admitted the Russian fleet has been in unsatisfactory conditions as many ships were technically outdated and thus could not be equipped with modern arms.