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MOSCOW, December 9 (Itar-Tass) — Two large landing ships, the Novocherkassk and the Saratov, of the Russian Black Sea Fleet are returning from the Mediterranean cruise to their bases in the Black Sea, a source at the General Staff told Itar-Tass on Saturday.
“The Black Sea Fleet’s flagship – The Moskva missile carrying cruiser, The Smetlivyi patrol ship, The Ivan Bunin sea tanker and the MB-304 towboat have been ordered to stay in the Aegian Sea before the zone of straits until further instructions,” the General Staff source went on to say.
For its part, the Russian Defense Ministry recalled that a squadron of the Russian Black Sea Fleet ships had initially been sent to the coast of Somalia where they were supposed to have been joined by Pacific Fleet ships. The two groups of ships were expected to counteract sea pirates near the Horn of Africa.
“However, later, in view of the worsening situation in the zone of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the Black Sea Fleet group of ships was ordered to stay off the Gaza Strip coast to be ready to evacuate Russian nationals from the territory of the Palestinian Autonomy,” the Defense Ministry went on to say.
The passage of the Suez Canal by the Black Sea Fleet ships had to be postponed to a later period in view of the worsening situation in Eastern Mediterranean.