MOSCOW- Russia has sent a naval flotilla of six warships led by an anti-submarine destroyer to its naval base at the Syrian port of Tartous, the Interfax news agency reported Tuesday.
The source said the trip was taking place in line with the plans of military readiness of the Russian fleet. According to Interfax, the source insisted that the deployment “was not linked to the escalation of the situation in Syria”.
Earlier on Monday, Russian news agencies said on Monday that Russia planned to suspend arms shipments to Syria, possibly signaling a shift in its stance towards Assad, whom it has defended from harsher sanctions at the U.N. Security Council.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said Tuesday That Russia wanted to host a new meeting of International World powers concerning the Syria crisis but stressed that the talks should not decide the fate of President Bashar al-Assad.
Bogdanov said the attempt made in Geneva on June 30 to save international envoy Kofi Annan’s tattered peace plan for the crisis needed to be continued with the involvement of countries such as Iran.
“We would welcome organising another Action Group meeting in Moscow. But we would also not be opposed to Geneva if special representative (Annan) and group participants find this more appropriate,” he told the Interfax news agency.
Repeating Moscow's affirmations that it is not backing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Bogdanov said Russia was not "linked to any concrete personalities".