The Russian Navy has sent five ships to the Mediterranean Sea to replace the region’s existing fleet. The move comes after the foreign ministry said it may call for the evacuation of Russian citizens in Syria if the government in Damascus falls.
Three warships and two support ships of the Russian Baltic Fleet are set to join the Russian naval forces in the Mediterranean.
|Frigate Yaroslav Mudri|
The vessels will replace the ships of the Baltic Fleet, which have been patrolling the Eastern Mediterranean since November.
The Russian military did not elaborate on whether the fleet would visit the Syrian port of Tartus, where the Russian Navy maintains a support base.
|Landing ship Aleksandr Shabalin|
Last week, a senior foreign ministry official confirmed that Russia has prepared a plan to evacuate its citizens from Syria, which will be implemented if the situation there deteriorates further. The plan covers not only the staff of the Russian embassy in Damascus, but also several thousand Russian civilians living in the country, Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said.
Russian citizens may be evacuated from Syria if Damascus loses more territory to the rebel fighters. The comments were interpreted by Washington as a sign of Russia changing its position on the Syrian conflict, but Moscow quickly denied this claim.