Russian Warships Enter Adriatic Sea, Ministry of Defence Doesn't React

By 22 August 2022

August the 22nd, 2022 - Russian warships recently entered Croatian waters, and despite the dire situation for which Russia is wholly responsible in Ukraine, the Croatian Ministry of Defense claims it ''didn't have a reason to react.''

As Index Vijesti writes, just three weeks ago, warships belonging to no less than the Russian Navy tried to block the exit of the American aircraft carrier Harry Truman from the Adriatic Sea, Admiral Giuseppe Cavo Dragone, Chief of the Italian Supreme Defense Staff, revealed in an interview with Rome's La Repubblica. He said that Russian warships had arrived along the Italian coast and had arrived as far as Ancona.

According to the Italian publication, on July the 22nd, 2022, Russian ships blocked the entry-exit route from the Adriatic Sea to try to prevent the movement of the American aircraft carrier. This led to a huge rise in tensions and a series of maneuvers by NATO and Russian ships in the area.

In its reconstruction of events, La Repubblica writes that the NATO commanders immediately reacted to the Russian moves in the Adriatic Sea, who wanted to show that they would not give up control over the passage from the Ionian to the Adriatic Sea. At the end of July, the Russian cruiser Varyag was less than 100 kilometres away from the American cruiser Forrest Sherman, they write.

These ships were located on the sides of Cape Santa Maria di Leuca, with the Russian ship on the Adriatic side and the American ship on the Ionian side. A little further to the south was the Harry Truman aircraft carrier with an American escort.

Truman was joined by NATO ships from Turkey, Greece, Italy, Spain and the USA and formed a square around the aircraft carrier on July the 25th, writes the Italian daily. They add that on July the 31st, the Global Hawk, one of the largest American spy planes, patrolled over the Ionian Sea for hours.

Croatian MOD: We're familiar with the situation

Index sent an inquiry to the Croatian Ministry of Defense about whether or not it was made aware of the activities of Russian and NATO ships in the Adriatic Sea. Here's what they had to say:

"Croatia is continuously monitoring the situation and is in contact with allies and partners. Through the Naval Operations Centre, the Croatian Navy monitors the situation in the Adriatic Sea, mainly in its area of ​​responsibility. This primarily refers to the navigation of ships of foreign navies. On the basis of the above, the HRM Command is aware of the presence, that is, the sailing of warships belonging to the Russian Federation into the Adriatic Sea. Given that no ships were observed entering the territorial waters of ​​the Republic of Croatia, there was no reason to react," the Ministry of Defense told Index.

Ivica Mandic: There was no threat from the ships

"Nobody has ever managed to block an aircraft carrier, so I think that our colleagues from Italy are exaggerating," military analyst Ivica Mandic told Dnevnik Nova TV.

"It's nothing particularly unusual for warships to come and watch the exercises of the other side, this is in one way provocative in the sense that it comes so close, but it is not a threat, especially to the carrier strike group," said Mandic.

"I think this is a distraction from something important that is happening on the ground in Ukraine," he noted, calling the move of the Russian warships in the Adriatic Sea a stupid operation.

"If they'd fired a rocket, they would have been sunk instantly"

"Those ships, if they fired a missile of any kind, they would all be sunk at that moment. You're in a narrow sea called the Adriatic and you are under attack from NATO member countries, you'd be toast,'' said Mandic.

He assured the public that the Croatian Armed Forces have a clear picture of both the Adriatic Sea and Russian warships, as well as the possibility of defense in the event of a threat, noting that Truman's presence on the Adriatic Sea is not accidental.

Akrap: These are common activities

Security expert Gordan Akrap told HRT that this action by the Russian warships should not be taken too seriously.

"This is the usual activity of the armed forces of the Russian Federation, regardless of whether they're air or naval forces, which are trying to come into contact with NATO forces in order to test the organisation, effectiveness, mobility and system of command, control and leadership of the NATO alliance and member countries of the NATO alliance in crises," said Akrap.

He added that we often see such cases in the Baltic Sea, the North Sea, and in Norwegian waters, and now we're seeing it here in the Adriatic as well. He pointed out that this sea is very well protected - it is protected by Croatia, partly by Albania and also by Italy. He said that, in addition to four ships, several submarines also entered the Adriatic, but they were tracked from beginning to end and immediately sent back.

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