Russian news reports quoted the Ministry as saying that the squadron was to make a call at the Syrian port of Tartus to replenish supplies. The Ministry said the visit had been planned long ago and had no relation to the Syrian crisis, The Associated Press (AP) reported.
Russian television stations showed the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft cruiser sailing off Tuesday from Severomorsk, the Arctic base of Russia’s Northern Fleet. The carrier is being escorted by a destroyer and several supply ships and will be joined later by several other warships.
Moscow has strongly opposed the Western push for international sanctions on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government.
Although the U.S. and the European Union imposed waves of sanctions against Syria in the past months, Washington and its allies have shown little appetite for intervening in another Arab nation in turmoil.
However, an Egyptian navigational source said that a U.S. nuclear submarine has set off from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean via the Suez Canal, according to Al Arabiya. The source said it might be heading to the Syrian coasts.
The news comes almost two weeks after the U.S. carrier George Bush crossed the Suez Canal on November 20, heading to the Mediterranean and accompanied by 5 warships.
Meanwhile, there were reports of a move by a huge number of Syrian tanks from the Maaret al-Numan in Idlib to the borders with Turkey, Al Arabiya reported.
Source: Al Arabiya; AP