Baltic Fleet (BF) landing ship Kaliningrad started preparations for a long-rage deployment to East Mediterranean few days ago, a source in the fleet told Central Navy Portal.
Being stationed in Baltiysk, crew of Kaliningrad last week was ordered to urgently get ready for deployment to the Mediterranean Sea, particularly to Syria. According to the source, official purpose of the deployment is evacuation of Russian citizens located in the zone of armed conflict between rebels and troops loyal to Bashar Assad. Planned duration of the deployment is 2 months.
Landing ship Kaliningrad will join the Russian Navy's task force already stationed in the Mediterranean.
By the end of the year, that task force can be reinforced with missile cruiser Moskva, destroyer Severomorsk which is to head for the conflict zone in a few days, destroyer Smetlivy, landing ship Novocherkassk, other warships and auxiliary vessels.
A top-ranking spokesman of Russian foreign ministry recently said that Russia had mobilization plans for evacuation of its citizens fr om Syria.
"We're currently working on preparing evacuation, we have mobilization plans, and we're trying to find out wh ere exactly our citizens are. There are thousands of them over there, basically not registered in Russian consulate. They are Russian women and kids of mixed marriages", said Russian deputy foreign minister Mikhail Bogdanov.
In total, 5,300 Russian citizens residing in Syria are registered in Russian consulate.
Additionally, the plan for evacuation of Russian embassy officials and their families has been already made.
One of the main ways of evacuation is a seagoing transport ship dispatched to Syria under escort of Russian Navy warships.