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Landing Ship with Military Cargo Left Sevastopol

Landing Ship with Military Cargo Left Sevastopol 22.06.2012
Text: Vzglyad
Photo: Landing ship Nikolai Filchenkov. vestikavkaza.ru
Black Sea Fleet (BSF) large landing ship Nikolai Filchenkov on June 21 left Sevastopol for Novorossiysk with a cargo of military hardware, said an officer serving in BSF Amphibious Ship Division.

"In accordance with plans, landing ship Nikolai Filchenkov left Sevastopol and set a course for Novorossiysk carrying military equipment for repair", reports Interfax referring to the officer.

As for him, the ship is expected to return to Sevastopol on June 25.

The officer pointed out that landing ship Caesar Kunikov was moored at Sevastopol.

As was reported by Vzglyad, in Tuesday evening Russian defense ministry refuted the information that Baltic Fleet (BF) landing ship Kaliningrad would be deployed to Syria. Reports about departure of BSF ships Caesar Kunikov and Nikolai Filchenkov were not confirmed either.

It was also reported on Tuesday that the crews of the latter two ships had been suddenly ordered to get ready for protection of national interests in Syria, and there would be marine units on board the ships.

Meanwhile, Russian foreign ministry's spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said on Thursday that merchant ship Alaed with a cargo meant for Syria was expected to call at Murmansk port on June 23 to change the flag of Curacao for Russian flag to avoid possible detention due to cease of her insurance liability for third parties.

"When heading from the North Sea to Atlantic, the shipowner was informed about termination of the ship's insurance liability for third parties, and about demand of the classification society that the Curacao-flagged ship should call at any port for examination. To avoid possible detention of the ship, it was decided that Alaed would call at Murmansk port on Saturday to shift the flag for the Russian one", Lukashevich said at Thursday briefing in Moscow.

He reminded that the Curacao-flagged ship Alaed on June 11 started the voyage with Mi-25 helicopters on board which are "property of Syria passed repair and must be returned".

"The flag will be changed in Murmansk, and the further plans are not under our jurisdiction. I cannot say more", reported ITAR-TASS citing Lukashevich.

Earlier on Thursday British media reported that UK Prime Minister David Cameron was considering an option of armed seizure of the Russian cargo ship Alaed allegedly carrying weapons for Syria.

It got about on Monday that British marine insurance operator Standard Club had annulled insurance of Russian maritime shipping company Femco operating cargo ship Alaed suspected of arms delivery to Syria.

Heading southwestward, in Monday morning Alaed was about 40 miles away from Scottish port Thurso. According to American sources, the ship was carrying attack helicopters and munitions for Syrian government.

Officially, the ship's destination port was Vladivostok; Alaed was to arrive there on July 24.

On Tuesday, representatives of the European Union informed Russian shipping company Femco about intentions to examine the vessel. Later on, UK foreign minister William Hague said that Alaed was returning to Kaliningrad.

The shipowner company on Wednesday made a formal statement refuting information of illegal export of attack helicopters to Syria.

On June 13, the US accused Russia of supplying Syria with armaments which could be used by regular troops against civilians. As was said by US state secretary Hillary Clinton, Russia had delivered a batch of attack helicopters to Damascus. That statement of Mrs. Clinton surprised both Moscow and the Pentagon.

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