Moscow has criticized the Netherlands’ “dangerous maneuvers” in the Mediterranean. Russia has reinforced its naval presence in the eastern region of the sea due to its military intervention in Syria.
Russia’s defense ministry on Wednesday said a Dutch submarine shadowed its squadron in the Mediterranean Sea, describing it as a provocative move from a NATO country.
Defense ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said the Walrus-class submarine had been spotted 20 kilometers (12 miles) away from the Russia’s Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier, which is being accompanied by the nuclear-powered Peter the Great missile cruiser.
“The (Russian) vessels followed its maneuvers for more than an hour and forced it to leave the deployment area of the aircraft carrier’s group,” the ministry said in a statement.
“These clumsy attempts to carry out dangerous maneuvers in the immediate proximity of a group of Russian vessels could have had navigational consequences,” it added.
The Dutch defense ministry announced in a tweet that it does not comment in ongoing operations.
In recent months, Moscow has bolstered its naval presence in the Mediterranean, in part because of its backing of regime forces in Syria, where it has launched airstrikes in a bid to prop up Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government.
Relations between NATO and Moscow have soured in the wake of Russia’s intervention in Crimea, prompting fears it may attempt similar maneuvers in Baltic states.
ls/bw (AFP, AP)