Citing Greek military sources, Greek media reported on Tuesday, that four Russian warships are sailing through the Aegean Sea to the Eastern Mediterranean. Two amphibious ships from the Russian Black Sea Fleet, the CAESAR KUNIKOV and the NIKOLAI FILCHENKOV, and two tug-boats SHAKHTAR and OKHTENSKY passed through the Turkish Straits this morning and were currently south of the Imvros Island.
According to Greek defencenet.gr portal, the Russian ships will be sailing the Aegean Sea and are expected to exit Greek waters in the dawn of Wednesday via the Karpathos-Rhodes strait.
“The Russian warships carry units from some of the most elite Russian land formations, from the 431 Battalion VMF (some of its units are already in Syria since February), the 76th Airborne Division «Pskov», the 15th Brigade, units of the GRU from the Caucasus, specialized to deal with Islamic terrorists, and some Black Sea Marine units (defencenet).”
The Russian ships are under the descrete surveillane of a Greek ship.
Ta Nea daily reports that according to the Greek General Stab, Russian diplomatic services had informed Greke authorities about the ships sailing route through the Aegean Sea.
On Tuesday morning, Reuters reported that destroyer SMETLIVY was dispatched from the Black Sea Fleet and Sevastopol port to Syria.
Destroyer Smetlivy, which patrolled waters off the coast of Syria in April and May, was seen leaving the Black Sea port of Sevastopol on Tuesday morning.
“The vessel is expected to reach the Turkish straits tomorrow morning,” the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity, adding that the ship was heading to Syria.
The navy declined to confirm its destination.
“The vessel has gone to sea, I cannot tell you anything else,” Vyacheslav Trukhachyov, a spokesman for Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, said. (via CNBC)
Ths mission of these ships is surrounded by a mystery. Two weeks ago, international media claimed that they warships had left the port of Sevastopol and they were heading for the Syrian port of Taurus carrying weapons and marines to defend Russia’s naval base.
Other options speak of the mission to evacuate Russian citizens from Syria.
Russian officers talked of a routine exercise at a training base.
PS I think we will learn about the warships’ mission once they reach their target.