MOSCOW, September 4 (Itar-Tass) - Two Ropucha-class amphibious assault ships of the Black Sea and Baltic Sea fleets - Novocherkassk and Minsk - and one reconnaissance ship of the Black Sea Fleet - Vishnya-class intelligence ship SSV-201 Priazovye - will enter the Mediterranean September 5-6, a source at Russia’s General Staff has told ITAR-TASS.
All three ships set course for the Mediterranean from the same base - the port of Novorossiysk. Priazovie has been en route since Monday, and Novocherkassk and Minsk, since Tuesday. The ships will pass through the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles one by one, on September 5 and 6, to enter the Mediterranean practically at the same time,” the source said.
“Whereas Novocherkassk and Minsk were dispatched for the Mediterranean within the framework of rotation of Russia’s permanent naval force and will operate according to the plans of its command, the Priazovie was dispatched to the region to step up reconnaissance efforts near the Syrian coast in keeping with General Staff plans,” the source said.
On September 2 a source at the General Staff has told ITAR-TASS the Defence Ministry had made a decision to step up efforts to monitor the situation near Syria’s coast.
“The number of ships in the Mediterranean involved in monitoring and covering the situation in areas near Syria will be increased somewhat,” the source said.
“This is standard practice for any fleet to follow in case of soaring tensions in this or that ocean or sea area. The situation around Syria will be monitored comprehensively,” the General Staff’s representative said.
According to Russian military experts the number of reconnaissance ships involved in situations similar to that around Syria normally ranges three to five.