Russia Criticizes EU over Ship Inspection off Libyan Coast


Russia has criticized Greece and the European Union over the inspection of a Russian cargo ship by Greek special forces off the Libyan coast.

The inspection took place on 11 January by soldiers from the Hellenic Navy vessel ‘Adrias’, which is the flagship of the EU’s Operation IRINI.

Greek soldiers boarded the Russian merchant vessel ‘Adler’, holding Greek and EU flags. A member of the Russian crew was seen holding a Russian flag.

Spokeswoman of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Maria Zakharova said that Moscow was in contact with the Greek authorities to, “clarify the circumstances of the incident, in which much remains incomprehensible to us.”

Zakharova added that neither Russia nor the UN had been informed of the inspection operation.

“The command of Operation IRINI is obliged to submit to the relevant UN Security Council committee detailed information explaining the reasons for the inspection, the actions taken to obtain the consent of the flag state of the vessel in question, and the results of such an inspection,” Zakharova said.

“A different approach would testify to the non-transparent nature of IRINI’s activities and the extensive interpretation of the provisions of the UN Security Council resolutions by the EU, in order to realize its own interests in the Mediterranean,” she added.

IRINI’s mission is to implement the arms embargo on Libya, in the context of the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.