Russia Sends Warships to Mediterranean
The Russian Navy has denied that the dispatch of two warships to the eastern Mediterranean is lin...
The Russian Navy has denied that the dispatch of two warships to the eastern Mediterranean is linked to western military action against Syria, despite Interfax quoting a source in the armed forces’ general staff who said the deployment was in response to the “well-known situation”.
As part of plans to have five or six vessels stationed in the region, initial reports stated that Russia had sent an anti-submarine ship and a missile cruiser to waters near Syria because the crisis “required us to make some adjustments” in the naval force, according to Interfax.
However, within hours a Russian Naval spokesperson told RIA Novosti that the maneuvers were part of planned rotation and not linked to the worsening situation in Syria.
“The vessels in the Mediterranean, like those in other parts of the world, act under plans by the Russian Naval Command and General Staff, and fulfil tasks set,” the Naval spokesperson said.
“On completion of these tasks, the vessels then either return to their bases, or are replaced by other vessels to complete the tasks set,” the spokesperson said, adding “This does not amount to a renewal of any grouping or groupings, it is a planned rotation.”
According to Ariel Cohen, a senior research fellow at the US think tank the Heritage Foundation, a western attack on Syria would prompt Russia to “deploy a permanent naval squadron in the Mediterranean and accelerate the search for naval bases and anchorages, such as Tartus and Latakiyeh in Syria.”
Russia has consistently supported the Syrian government and repeatedly vetoed efforts by Britain and the US to secure the green light for military intervention via the UN Security Council. Efforts by Downing Street to propose a new draft resolution that would have greased the skids for cruise missile attacks were rebuffed by Russia and China yesterday.
Both Russia and China have warned that a military attack on Syria would have “catastrophic consequences” for the region.