Posted by: Chuck | September 3, 2013

Russia sending spy ship to Mediterranean: Interfax


English: Sergey Lavrov (Russia) Português: O c...

English: Sergey Lavrov (Russia) Português: O chancelere Sergei Lavrov (Rússia) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia is sending a reconnaissance ship to the eastern Mediterranean, Interfax news agency reported on Monday, as the United States prepares for a possible military strike in Syria. U.S. President Barack Obama has said he will seek congressional authorization for punitive action against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad after what Washington said was a sarin gas attack that killed over 1,400 people. Russia is a staunch backer of Assad in his war with rebels trying to topple him. The reconnaissance ship left Russia’s naval base in the Ukrainian Black Sea port of Sevastopol late on Sunday on a mission “to gather current information in the area of the escalating conflict”, the Interfax report quoted an unidentified military source as saying. The Defense Ministry declined immediate comment but Interfax said the vessel, the SSV-201 Priazovye, would operate separately from a Russian navy unit already stationed in the Mediterranean. Last week, the ministry said new warships were being sent to the Mediterranean but described this as a routine rotation of ships under a permanent deployment which Moscow says is needed to protect national security interests. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also said at the time that Moscow did not intend to be dragged into any military conflict over Syria.

Billboard with portrait of Assad and the text ...

Billboard with portrait of Assad and the text God protects Syria on the old city wall of Damascus 2006 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Russia reiterated on Monday that the United States had not proved its allegations and that the chemical attack may have been staged by Syrian rebels to provoke outside intervention in the more than two-year-old civil war. Lavrov said Russia remained unconvinced following a meeting between Michael McFaul, the U.S. ambassador to Moscow, and a senior Russian diplomat. The material the United States has shown Russia “contained nothing concrete: no geographical coordinates, no names, no proof that samples were taken in a professional manner”, Lavrov told students and staff at Russia’s main diplomatic academy. (Source: Reuters News 9/3/13)

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