Russia has sent a naval flotilla of six warships led by an anti-submarine destroyer to its naval base at the Syrian port of Tartus, the Interfax news agency reported Tuesday.
The Admiral Chabanenko and three landing craft have left their home port of Severomorsk in the Arctic Circle on their way to the Mediterranean where they will be joined by the Russian patrol ship Yaroslav Mudry as well as an assistance vessel, a military source told the agency.
"The programme of the voyage includes a call in the Syrian port of Tartus," the unnamed source told the news agency.
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."
"In Tartus the ships are going to top up on supplies of fuel, water and foodstuffs," the source said, adding that their deployment in the Mediterranean would last until the end of September.
Russia has been bitterly criticised by the West for failing to cut military ties with Syria despite the conflict between the regime and opposition rebels that has claimed thousands of lives.