Russian Missile Cruiser 'Varyag' Enters Mediterranean to Replace 'Moskva' off Syria Coast

The flagship off the Russian Pacific Fleet is taking over - both ships are of the 'Slava' guided missile cruiser class

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MOSCOW, January 3 (TASS) - The flagship of Russia’s Pacific Fleet, the Varyag guided missile cruiser has passed the Suez Canal and entered into the Mediterranean Sea, Roman Martov, chief of information support department at the press service of the Eastern Military District, told reporters on Sunday.

In December 2015, TASS reported that Varyag would be dispatched off the Syrian coast to replace the missile cruiser Moskva.

The Moskva cruiser is taking part in the Russian operations against the Islamic State and Jabhat Al-Nusra terrorist groups (both groups are banned in Russia).

In late November, after the Turkish Air Forces attacked the Russian bomber Su-24M in Syria, the Moskva cruiser equipped with the Fort air defense system (similar to the system S-300) was dispatched off the coast of Latakia (Syria) with an air defense mission.

On September 30, Russia launched its anti-terrorist mission in Syria by the request of the country’s President Bashar al-Assad. Initially, the air group comprised about 50 aircraft and helicopters, including the Su-34 and Su-24M, Su-25, Su-30cm, Mi-8 and Mi-24 bombers. Later, the group received another 12 bombers and fighters. In total the air group comprises 69 aircraft.

On November 17, the mission was strengthened with the long-range aviation - 25 missile carriers Tu-160, Tu-95MS and Tu-22M3 and the ships of the Russian Navy.

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