Russia deployed all six submarines from the Sevastopol Base of the Black Sea Fleet at the beginning of NATO exercises in the area, the state news agency RIA Novosti.
“All submarines in the Black Sea Fleet are carrying out their tasks outside their bases,” said Vice Admiral Igor Osipov, commander-in-chief of the fleet.
“None of the submarines are at their base,” said Osipov, according to RIA Novosti.
The Black Sea Fleet’s submarine flotilla commander, Captain 1st Rank Anatoly Varochkin, called the deployment “unprecedented”.
“This does not happen with the other fleets in Russia or in foreign countries,” said Varochkin.
The deployment takes place when 18 NATO warships with 10 aircraft and 2,400 military personnel are scheduled to start Romania-led multinational exercises dubbed the “Sea Shield 21”.
Sea Shield 21 aims to improve interoperability and cooperation between Romanian naval forces and other NATO members. Thereafter, NATO’s permanent maritime group of frigates from Spain, Turkey, Bulgaria, and Romania will make stops in Turkey and the Republic of Georgia.
Russia sees NATO’s expansion to the east in its former Soviet sphere of influence as a key risk to national security. NATO members view Russia’s missile launches in the Baltic enclave between Poland and Lithuania as a threat.
NATO, a US-led alliance created during the Cold War to provide collective security against the Soviet Union, suspended relations with Russia in response to Moscow’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.
Source: RIA Novosti