Russian Navy Stages Mediterranean Drills, 'Not' in Syrian PortWorld | August 11, 2012, Saturday // 10:38| views
A Russian joint naval task force on a training mission in the Mediterranean has conducted two-day tactical exercises with live-firing drills, the Russian Defense Ministry said Saturday.
The Russian task force is comprised of three large amphibious assault ships, two Neustrashimy class frigates, an Udaloy class destroyer and two support ships from Russia's Northern, Baltic and Black Sea Fleets.
"In the past two days the task force held tactical exercises which included firing drills involving on-board artillery and missile systems," the ministry said on Friday, quoted by RIA Novosti.
The warships will head to the Russian naval base of Novorossiisk after additional training in the central part of the Mediterranean later this month.
The Russian Defense Minister states that "contrary to media reports", the task force will not call at the Russian supply and maintenance facility at the Syrian port of Tartus.
This comes amidst continuing stipulations that the Russian naval exercises in the Mediterranean are a show of force in support of struggling Syrian dictator Bashar Al-Assad, an ally of Moscow who is facing an uprising, with Syrian being technically in a state of civil war for the past 17 months, in a whiff of the Arab Spring revolutions.
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