(AFP) – The representative of the French state for the Mediterranean confirmed that with the war in Ukraine, the militarization of the Mediterranean increased, which “has again become a source of crises to some extent,” but Europe and the United States are doing “everything to avoid an escalation or an accident.”
Since the war in Syria, the Russians have returned to the Mediterranean, but they are now “more present” in this sea, which is considered a rear base for the Black Sea, Admiral Gil Boadevizi, official of the Mediterranean Maritime Administration, said in an interview with Agence France-Presse.
Boadivesi, responsible for coordinating French military naval operations in the Mediterranean and Black Sea, added that the Americans, on their part, had begun to abandon the Mediterranean, but since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, there has been a permanent rotation of American aircraft carriers, and this has not happened in more than ten years.
As a result, he said, from his office in Toulon, in southern France, “the Mediterranean has again become an area that causes crises to some extent at the strategic level,” with “the increase in the militarization of the Mediterranean.”
He explained that “only four years ago, the Mediterranean was an area of tension, but on a local scale and between neighbours,” such as the Greeks, Turks, Egyptians and Libyans. However, wider differences were recorded in 2020, especially after Turkey deployed warships to accompany gas exploration ships.
He stressed that “the interest of all European countries and the United States is focused today on making maximum efforts to avoid an escalation or an accident,” noting that “in the eastern Mediterranean, as in Syria, there are consultations to avoid accidents.”
He pointed out that “it may have happened, especially in the Baltic Sea, that French and Russian units approached each other, but this did not lead to accidents.”
The Mediterranean is a strategic area for Europe and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) because 65 percent of the European Union’s energy supplies and 30 percent of world trade pass through it.
France will organize in the first half of 2023, especially in the Mediterranean, large-scale unprecedented military exercises, with the participation of up to 12,000 soldiers in a major conflict scenario with a country.
In the Black Sea, the naval governor praised the “magnificent work” of the Turks, Bulgarians and Romanians “to detect and neutralize drifting mines”.
He said, “There are mines laid by the Ukrainians, especially in front of Odessa, to avoid an invasion from the sea. With bad weather, there were a few mines that were washed away, and we found dozens of them in the Black Sea.”
Source: Swiss Info