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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russia Boosts Mediterranean Fleet for Potential Evacuation - Kremlin

RIA Novosti

20:40 05/09/2013 St. PETERSBURG, September 5 (RIA Novosti) - Russia has strengthened its naval presence in the Mediterranean Sea for a possible evacuation of Russian nationals from Syria, the Kremlin chief of staff said Thursday.

Asked why Russia is boosting its task force in the region, Sergei Ivanov said: “Above all, given the presence there of amphibious landing ships, they are intended for a possible evacuation of Russian citizens.”

Russia’s Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said earlier on Thursday that the country’s increased presence in the Mediterranean is “a legitimate, natural and predictable reaction to the situation developing” in the region.

“Our actions are in strict compliance with international law and the UN Charter,” he stressed, adding that the Mediterranean Sea is “quite close to Russia’s borders.”

However, he stressed that Russia’s naval presence in the Mediterranean Sea does should not be interpreted as an indication that the country plans to take an active role in any regional conflict, he said.

“Our warships are a guarantee of regional stability, an attempt to restrain other forces that are ready to launch military operations in the region,” Antonov said.

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