MOSCOW (AP) — Another Russian ship from the Black Sea fleet has departed for Syria, the Interfax news agency reported, citing a source at navy headquarters.
The landing ship left the Black Sea port of Sevastopol on Friday morning for the eastern Mediterranean with “special cargo,” according to the report carried by Interfax, a privately owned agency known for its independent contacts within Russia’s armed forces.
The Defense Ministry was unable to confirm the ship’s departure. Kremlin chief of staff Sergei Ivanov said Thursday that Russia is boosting its naval presence in the Mediterranean, but primarily in order to organize a possible evacuation of Russians from Syria. It is unclear how many ships Russia has there.
Reports of increased Russian naval presence near Syria have stoked fears of a larger international conflict if the United States orders airstrikes over a chemical weapons attack last month.