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Russian Naval Maneuvers off the Syrian Coast

MOSCOW,(ST)_ The  Russian Defense Ministry announced on Friday  that Russian warships will conduct naval exercises off the Syrian coast.

In  a statement quoted by  Moscow News agency, the Ministry explained that  Russian naval units of the Black Sea Fleet will carry out  the  maneuver  exercises near the Syrian coast, within the course of  arrangements to implement  a large training project in the Mediterranean Sea with the participation of units from other Russian fleets.

The Russian ministry added  that a tactical set of units of the Black Sea Fleet led by the cruiser "Moscow" will carry out maneuver exercises in the eastern Mediterranean.

The vessels participating in the training were fueled by tanker fuel Ivan Bobnov .

In the same context, a source at the Russian Army General Command announced that warships of several Russian fleets will carry joint exercises in the eastern Mediterranean.

"Landing a few units of marines and paratroopers, sailors from the warships of the Baltic and the Black Sea Fleets is considered one of the central tasks in these exercises." Interfax said.

Earlier, the Russian Defense Ministry revealed arrangements by the  Russian Navy to carry out  unprecedented  maneuvers in both the Mediterranean and Black sea at the end of January of 2013, according to a Russian armed forces  training plan , with the  participation  of units of four  Russian fleets in order to train on  forming  forces outside Russia's borders , to draw and carry out its work plan  and enhance  fighting skills of the Russian Naval forces.

Russia's Defense Ministry is being careful with its comments about sending the warships to the Mediterranean Sea. Thus, the press-service of the ministry announced that "the group of the ships of the Northern and Baltic fleets will conduct a training combat mission in the Mediterranean and in the Black Seas, in collaboration with a group of Black Sea Fleet - large landing warships "Nikolay Filchenkov, " "Caesar Kunikov "and escort ship "Smetliviy." The officials also explained that the group included Northern Fleet ships "Admiral Chabanenko", "Aleksandr Otrakovsky," "George the Victorious" and "Kondopoga", as well as support vessels "Nicholai Chiker" and "Sergey Osipov". Later, the Baltic Fleet patrol ship "Yaroslav Mudry" and "Lena" tanker joined them.

T. Fateh