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Russian Fleet Redeployment In Mediterranean Not Linked To Syria

Russia on Thursday refuted media reports that the country was strengthening its naval presence in the Mediterranean in the context of the worsening situation in Syria.

Redeployment of Russian naval vessels in the Mediterranean is part of a planned rotation and is not linked with the situation in Syria, Russian media reported citing a Navy spokesperson.

"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 fulfill tasks set," the spokesperson said.

On completion of these tasks, the vessels would either return to their bases or be 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 the RIA Novosti news agency, the naval official declined to provide details on the ships involved, saying that the Navy General Staff would decide what class of vessels to be sent.

Russian Navy Commander Admiral Viktor Chirkov had told the Zvezda TV channel on Sunday that Russia "should have five or six vessels permanently deployed in the Mediterranean," but did not say how many were already there.

A staunch Syrian ally, Russia is having a naval base on Syria's Mediterranean coast, its only naval presence outside Russia.

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