Mediterranean-bound Russian warship passes through Turkey’s Strait of Dardanelles
The ship number 152 named “Nikolai Filchenkov” crossed the strait at around 8:30 a.m. local time, the agency reported.
“Nikolai Filchenkov” was accompanied by a Turkish Coast Guard boat.
The military vessel is set to first pass through the Aegean Sea in Turkey’s west and then towards the Mediterranean Sea in Turkey’s south.
Military vessels on permanent standby in Mediterranean: Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on May 16 that Russian military vessels with Kalibr cruise missiles would be on permanent standby in the Mediterranean to counter what he said was the terrorist threat in Syria, Reuters reported.
The deployment shows how Russia has increased its military presence in the Middle East since it launched an intervention in Syria in 2015, turning the tide of the civil war in favor of its close ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the agency reported.
Only warships armed with Kalibr missiles would be on permanent standby, and not submarines, Putin said.
Announcing the deployment while addressing the Russian high military command at a meeting in the Black Sea city of Sochi, Putin said it was “due to the remaining terrorist threat in Syria.”
Moscow already has a permanent naval base in Tartus on the Syrian coast and an air base in Hmeimim in Syria.