The Russian Navy’s Black Sea Fleet recently has been deploying its submarines to the Mediterranean, despite a decades-old international treaty which many thought would prevent those deployments.
By H I Sutton
The Montreux Convention, agreed to in 1936, prohibits submarines from passing through the Bosporus Strait, which connects the Black Sea to the Mediterranean. There are exceptions in the treaty for special cases for Black Sea nations: delivery of new submarines to the Black Sea and transits for repairs. Russia is now routinely using these clauses to reestablish a permanent submarine presence in the Mediterranean.
The deployment of these submarines to the Mediterranean is a serious concern for NATO leadership. Speaking at the International Institute for Strategic Studies on June 25, Adm. James Foggo, Commander of U.S. Naval Forces in Europe and Africa, described the Eastern Mediterranean as “one of the most kinetic areas in the world.”
He said, “the Russians are deploying quiet, modern, diesel submarines capable of launching the Kalibr cruise missile.” This refers to diesel-electric Kilo-class boats deploying to the region from the Black Sea via the Bosporus.
“A Kilo-class submarine can go anywhere in European waters and strike any European or North African capitol from under the waves. You don’t see it coming,” Foggo said. He spoke just two days after the Russian latest boat, Rostov-on-Don, had passed through the Bosporus.
Russia later said that Rostov-on-Don was going for scheduled repairs, which would make the movement legal under the Montreux Convention. But like other submarines before her, Rostov-on-Don is believed to be heading first for a combat patrol in the Mediterranean.
Even if Rostov-on-Don was going straight for repair, the fact would remain that other submarines have used this clause to deploy to the Mediterranean. READ MORE HERE