Moscow (AFP) – Russia has dispatched a new ship armed with cruise missiles to the Mediterranean, the navy announced Saturday, as reports said it is bound for Syria.
The Zelyony Dol, a patrol ship armed with Kalibr cruise missiles that only joined the Black Sea fleet in December, departed for the Mediterranean, the Black Sea fleet said in a statement.
RIA-Novosti news agency further quoted a security source in Crimea — where the Black Sea fleet is based — saying that the ship is bound for Syria and may take part in Russia’s campaign to support the Syrian army.
“The goals of the ship are not public but considering that it is carrying long-range cruise missiles, its participation in the military operation should not be excluded,” the source was quoted as saying just a day after world powers agreed to cease hostilities in the war-ravaged country.
Zelyony Dol was only built last year and this week took part in a massive landing operation exercise to train “holding the coast” while landing troops attempt to take control.
Moscow is under fire for its bombing campaign in Syria, with the United States this week accusing it of undermining peace talks by helping in an offensive on the rebel stronghold of Aleppo.
Russia meanwhile warned against any ground intervention in Syria by countries in the US-led coalition with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev saying it would unleash another war.
“Don’t threaten anyone with a ground operation,” he said Saturday in Munich in a speech that lashed out at the West and talked of a “new Cold War.”
Russian navy used cruise missiles to strike Syria in October, launching them from the Caspian Sea, as well as in December, when they were launched from a submarine in the Mediterranean.