MOSCOW, September 6 (RIA Novosti) – Russia will send another warship to the Mediterranean Sea next week, a high-ranking Russian Navy official told RIA Novosti Friday.
The Kashin-class guided missile destroyer Smetlivy from the Black Sea Fleet is due to leave the port of Sevastopol on September 12-14, the official said, adding that it is to join the Mediterranean task force “on a rotational basis.”
A group of warships, including the large amphibious landing ships Novocherkassk and Minsk, as well as the electronic intelligence ship Priazovye joined the Mediterranean fleet earlier on Friday, he said.
He also said the Slava class guided missile cruiser Moskva will reach the Mediterranean Sea, where it will take over from the Admiral Panteleyev destroyer, on September 17, and on September 29 the missile boat Ivanovets and the guided missile ship Sthil will reach an area off the Syrian coast.
Russia has strengthened its naval presence in the Mediterranean Sea for a possible evacuation of Russian nationals from Syria, Kremlin chief of staff Sergei Ivanov said Thursday.
Russia’s Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said earlier on Thursday that the country’s increased presence in the Mediterranean is “a legitimate, natural and predictable reaction to the situation developing” in the region. However, he stressed that Russia’s naval presence in the Mediterranean Sea does should not be interpreted as an indication that the country plans to take an active role in any regional conflict.