Photo: Southern Military District Press Service
Black Sea Fleet (BSF) will not be able to attend the international anti-piracy campaign in the Gulf of Aden by the end of the current year. Passage of BSF task unit through the Suez Canal to the Indian Ocean was canceled; the ships will return to Sevastopol in mid-Dec, a source in Russian General Staff told Interfax.
"That was caused by the situation in the East Mediterranean. No instructions to evacuate Russian citizens from the Gaza Strip were received", said the interviewee.
"Black Sea Fleet flagship missile cruiser Moskva has already set a course for Sevastopol and is expected to arrive there next week. Destroyer Smetlivy is performing assigned tasks near the Crete Island, landing ships Novocherkassk and Saratov along with two auxiliary vessels are gearing up for passing Bosporus and Dardanelles straits with the view to return to home bases by the year end", said the source. "Request to pass the straits has been already addressed to Turkish authorities", he added.
Due to changes in BSF anti-piracy deployment plans, only Pacific Fleet (PF) task unit will be on the counter-piracy mission off Somalia since Dec 2012 through Jan 2013. Ships of the PF task unit are to arrive there in the next week.
The source added that BSF landing ships Novocherkassk and Saratov had called at Russian Navy's maintenance base in Syrian port Tartus in Nov 2012.