SEVASTOPOL, July 22. /TASS/. Crews of the Black Sea Fleet, performing tasks as part of the Russian Navy’s standing Mediterranean taskforce, held anti-saboteur defense drills from an unprotected anchorage, the press office of the Black Sea Fleet reported on Thursday.
"Under the scenario of the drills, a group of a notional enemy’s underwater saboteurs, using special means of transportation, is carrying out reconnaissance at the berth of the ships and is tasked with planting an explosive under the waterline of one of the ships," the press office said in a statement.
The crews used an underwater tracking station and special equipment of a Grachyonok-class anti-saboteur vessel to prevent underwater reconnaissance, detect and seize saboteurs with the help of frogmen groups, the statement says.
As part of the drills, the naval sailors also fired from the ships against a floating item that simulated a mine, and held a grenade throwing exercise using hand-held grenade launchers while the anti-saboteur squad inspected the ships’ underwater parts to look for possible damage and planted bombs, the press office added.
Russian Navy’s Mediterranean Squadron
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.