According to latest reports from Russia, the large Landing Ship – Tanks (LST) Nikolai Filchenkov from the Russian Black Sea Fleet is on its way to the East Mediterranean, probably set for the docks at the Russian naval base Tartus, Syria.
Having taken on board an unspecified “special cargo” at the Black Sea naval port of Novorossiysk, its mission is still a mystery.
The arrival of the Nikolai Filchenkov in Tartus is not the first that Russian landing ships made to this port. Only recently the Russian Interfax news agency reported the LST Novocherkassk, (carrying 150 marine special forces) and Minsk (with 300 troops), were sent to the Syrian port, although their mission was not specified.
According to the website of the Russian Black Sea Fleet the Filchenkov can carry 300 troops + 1,700 tons of cargo, including about 20 tanks and trucks or 40 AFV’s.
The recent mission coincided with an unplanned US-Russian summit at St. Petersburg. Although no such meeting was priori arranged between President Barak Obama and Vladimir Putin at the G20 conference in St Petersburg, the meeting between the two leaders (just them, no staff) lasted 30 minutes.
Following the meeting no announcements were given to the media, which seems strange under the present Syrian crisis, that has already dominated the Summit.
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