The commander of Operation IRINI, Italian Admiral Stefano Turchetto, said that Russia’s presence in the Mediterranean region is increasing and explained that Moscow is working to obtain a new maritime location in the middle of the Mediterranean basin, by consolidating relations with eastern Libya.

Turchetto said that Operation IRINI is the main naval military pillar of the European Union’s commitment to the southern flank of Europe, in an implicit reference to Libya.

Turchetto added that the recent seizure of two weapons shipments, which were on their way to Libya, shows that this operation is a success for the common defense and security policy and is capable of creating deterrent impacts.

Turchetto also said that the inspection and seizure process comes in implementation of the embargo imposed by the United Nations on arms smuggling in Libya, and it comes within the 2023 maritime security strategy developed by the European Union.