Tartus is the last Russian naval base in the Mediterranean. Russia has leased the Tartus port since 1971 as part of a debt write-off. The port also serves as an important point for Russian arms- and goods sale to Syria.
Two weeks ago, BarentsObserver posted a photo of the cargo ship “Alaed” anchored in the Kola bay after she had to return to Russia due to her loss of British insurance for carrying military cargo, said to be three Mi-25 fighter helicopters with destination Syria.
In addition to “Admiral Chabanenko” three large landing vessels are now on voyage from Russia’s Northern fleet towards Tartus, Interfax reports.
RIA Novosti reports that the three other Northern fleet vessels are the large landing ships “Alexander Otrakovsky,” “Kondopoga” and “Saint George the Victorious”
Launched in 1994, “Admiral Chabanenko” is the newest of the Northern fleet’s anti-submarine destroyers. She carries both missiles and torpedoes and has a deck for two helicopters.
There might as well be a submarine included in the flotilla. The Russian naval salvage submersible support vessel SS-750 has arrived in the Mediterranean and will make port call to Tartus, according to portal warfare.ru.
Interfax quotes naval sources insisting that the flotilla’s deployment to Syria is not linked with the escalation of the situation in the country.
“The voyage is a scheduled visit to the Syrian port of Tartus, where the Navy has a point of logistics,” the spokesman said.