Russia's Defense Ministry is sending a new group of warships to Syria and the commander of the country's Airborne Forces said his troops are ready in the event that it proves necessary to evacuate Russian nationals from the country.
The Defense Ministry said on December 18 that ships from the Baltic Fleet would replace vessels from the Black Sea Fleet that are currently in the eastern Mediterranean Sea.
Russia's Interfax news agency cited a "source" in the Baltic Fleet as saying the vessels were bound for Syria "to assist in a possible evacuation of Russian citizens."
The report could not be confirmed.
But Airborne Forces commander General Vladimir Shamanov said on December 17 that his forces have experience evacuating Russians from "hot spots" and are ready to perform this task if it received presidential orders to do so.
Based on reporting by ITAR-TASS and Interfax