Italy’s navy chief says a recent rise in the number of Russian ships in the Mediterranean risked causing incidents in the area.
Italy’s Navy Chief of Staff, Enrico Credendino, spoke to a hearing of the House Defence Committee.
“The immediate effects on our security of the war in Ukraine have once again reverberated on the sea and are the impressive increase in the numbers of the Russian fleet in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea to a level not even seen in the days of the Cold War,” said Credendino.
“The number of Russian ships in the Mediterranean has increased, a high number that is not a direct threat to the national territory but increases the tension so much. The Russians have an aggressive attitude that was not usual in the Mediterranean and was previously only evident in the Baltic.
“The risk of an incident is possible and when there is an incident of this nature you never know where you might end up”.
Russian ships also present in Ionian Sea
Credendino added the Russians were also raising their presence in the Ionian Sea. In turn, this was raising the risk of incidents there.
“In the very crowded Mediterranean, there is an unstable balance. Never before have four allied carrier groups been seen in the Mediterranean: Italian, French, American and the Spanish amphibious ship.
“The Russians arrive as far as the Ionian Sea without any problems, they are heading towards the Ionian Sea with a naval group of three modern ships.
“The most modern ship is the Russian one, which is currently in South Africa and has taken on board hypersonic missiles. We do not know whether they are effective or not, we will see, but the ship will enter the Mediterranean.
“The Russians say it will be the most modern in the world. The situation is complex and turbulent, the risk of incidents is high”.