The issue of escorting civilian ships with Ukrainian grain by NATO warships has been raised repeatedly. But for the first time, a high-ranking Western military has expressed readiness to join such a mission. This was reported by Defense Express.
The Commander-in-Chief of the Italian Navy, Admiral Enrico Credendino, directly answered the questions of the journalist of the newspaper Corriere della Sera on the possibility of participation of the Italian Navy in such an operation: “We are waiting. But we are ready to intervene, whether convoys or demining operations on Ukrainian shores.”
It seems that the global food crisis and the unavoidable wave of migration that will inevitably follow frighten Italy, which still remembers well the past migration crisis caused by the civil war in Syria. Both times Russia is to blame… what a strange coincidence.
“The consequences of the war [in Ukraine] could lead to unprecedented emergencies: food shortages due to the blockade of Ukrainian grain will provoke an increase in migration flows to Europe which is also compounded by the energy crisis,” said Admiral Credendino.
About 18 warships and 2 submarines of Russia are in the Mediterranean. Admiral Credendino does not believe they pose a threat, although this is a record number of Russian ships since the Cold War. The Italian Navy accompanies Russian ships with two frigates of the Fremm type.
Although Admiral Credendino’s response to the possibility of escorting grain ships indicates that such a scenario is being considered in NATO, without the consent of Turkey, as well as the temporary suspension of the 1936 Montreux Convention, which significantly limits the presence of foreign warships in the Black Sea, is impossible.
Substantial restrictions on class and tonnage have been imposed on non-Black Sea warships under the Convention. The total tonnage of warships of non-Black Sea states in the Black Sea should not exceed 30,000 tons (this is one light aircraft carrier, or 3-4 destroyers, or 5-6 frigates) with a stay of not more than 21 days. In the event of Turkey’s participation in the war, as well as if it considers that it is directly threatened by war, it is entitled to allow or prohibit the passage through the straits of any warship. During a war in which it does not take part, the straits must be closed to the passage of warships of any belligerent state.
As for the Italian Navy, the country has 2 light aircraft carriers, 3 small airborne vehicles, 4 air defense destroyers, 4 general-purpose frigates, 8 anti-submarine frigates and 8 strike submarines.