SEVASTOPOL, January 30. /TASS/. The Black Sea Fleet minesweeper Valentin Pikul is returning to its home naval base after accomplishing missions as part of the Russian Navy’s permanent Mediterranean taskforce, the Fleet’s press office reported on Thursday.
"The crew of the Black Sea Fleet oceanic minesweeper Valentin Pikul is transiting the Black Sea’s Dardanelles and Bosporus straits," the press office said in a statement.
In the distant maritime zone, the warship Valentin Pikul has been replaced by the latest mine countermeasures ship Ivan Antonov, which deployed to the Mediterranean Sea for the first time in mid-January 2020 after it entered service with the Black Sea Fleet.
The Soviet Navy’s 5th Mediterranean Squadron served as a prototype for the Russian Navy’s permanent Mediterranean taskforce operating at present. The 5th operational Soviet Squadron dealt with the tasks of naval presence in the Mediterranean theater of operations during the Cold War period. Its main rival was the US Navy’s 6th Fleet. The Soviet Squadron was disbanded on December 31, 1992, a year after the disintegration of the Soviet Union.
In 2013, Russia started to create a new operational Mediterranean taskforce. Russia’s new permanent Squadron is dealing with planned and urgent combat missions arising in the Mediterranean theater of operations, including warding off threats to Russia’s national and military security.