Russia Sends Black Sea Fleet Ship to Mediterranean
The Ladny patrol ship of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet has left its home port of Sevastopol and headed to the Mediterranean Sea to join a group of ships of the Russian Northern and Baltic Fleets, the Russian Black Sea Fleet spokesman said on Sunday.
“The Ladny has left Sevastopol and headed for the Mediterranean. The ship’s voyage began a day ahead of the schedule due to unfavorable weather forecasts,” Capt. 1st Rank Vyacheslav Trukhachev said.
The spokesman said the ship was scheduled to make calls at the ports of Cyprus, Malta, France and Spain.
An anti-terror squad is on board the ship to ensure its safety during its passage through the Black Sea straits and during calls at foreign ports, the spokesman said.
The Russian daily Izvestia reported in late November that the frigate was scheduled to meet in the Mediterranean Sea with the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier and the Admiral Chabanenko anti-submarine ship, which would turn around the European continent from the west and enter the Mediterranean through the Strait of Gibraltar.
The daily also said that in the spring of 2012, the group of Russian naval ships would enter the Syrian port of Tartus.
A source in the Russian Defense Ministry denied this information, saying the Russian aircraft carrier naval group led by the Admiral Kuznetsov did not plan to call at Syria during winter exercises in the Mediterranean Sea.
Anti-government protests in Syria started in the spring of 2011 in the country’s south and spread to other areas in the Middle East country.
Western nations have accused the Syrian authorities of brutal treatment of protesters who have been rallying against the government and President Bashar al-Assad for nine months.
UN statistics have put the death toll in the nine months’ confrontation between the opposition and the president’s loyalists at 4,000 people.