Russia is sending an anti-submarine ship and a missile cruiser to the eastern Mediterranean over the next few days because of the “well-known situation”, Interfax news agency quoted a source in the armed forces’ general staff on Thursday.
“The well-known situation shaping up in the eastern Mediterranean called for certain corrections to the make-up of the naval forces,” a source in the Russian General Staff told Interfax. “A large anti-submarine ship of the Northern Fleet will join them (the existing naval forces) over the next few days.
“Later it will be joined by the Moskva, a rocket cruiser of the Black Sea Fleet which is now wrapping up its tasks in the northern Atlantic and will soon begin a Transatlantic voyage towards the Strait of Gibraltar.”
In addition, a rocket cruiser of the Pacific Fleet, the Varyag, will join the Russian naval forces in the Mediterranean this autumn by replacing a large anti-submarine ship.
The navy later denied the deployment was linked to events in Syria and said it was part of a long-planned rotation of its ships in the Mediterranean. It did not say what kind of vessels, or how many, were on their way to the region.
The initial Interfax report had made clear that the aim was to beef up the navy’s presence and not to replace the ships in the Mediterranean.