Having returned fr om the Mediterranean deployment, Black Sea Fleet (BSF) landing ships Saratov and Novocherkassk called at Novorossiysk instead of Sevastopol not because strength of landing party onboard violates the Russian-Ukrainian agreements by exceeding number of marines allowed for the BSF oversea base Sevastopol but because of the fleet's needs, a source in Black Sea Fleet told Central Navy Portal.
Reason of the call is the need of taking aboard cargo meant for Sevastopol naval base and discharge of conscript crewmembers from the military service. Landing ship Novocherkassk has already arrived at her base Sevastopol, and Saratov will return to the home station not earlier than Dec 20, as she will be involved in the in-fleet cargo shipping. Currently, the ship is moored in Novorossiysk Naval Base taking aboard cargo for the BSF main base.
Some Ukrainian media sources earlier reported that both Russian landing ships were heading for Novorossiysk after the one-month long deployment in the Mediterranean allegedly because strength of marine troops onboard exceeded the Russian-Ukrainian treaties.
BSF spokesman Capt 1 Rank Vyacheslav Trukhachev said that conscript sailors whose service term was expired would be discharged and sent home. "Now Russian conscript servicemen serve 365 days. And the place of their discharge – Sevastopol or Novorossiysk – depends on wh ere they finish this period", Trukhachev explained.