Putin says Russian frigates in Mediterranean on standby over Syria threat

File photo of the Russian Navy’s missile corvette ‘Mirazh’ sails in the Bosphorus, en route to the Mediterranean Sea, Istanbul, Turkey, October 7, 2016. (Reuters)
Updated 16 May 2018
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Putin says Russian frigates in Mediterranean on standby over Syria threat

SOCHI: Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that Russian military vessels with Kalibr cruise missiles would be on permanent standby in the Mediterranean to counter what he said was the terrorist threat in Syria.

The deployment shows how Russia has increased its military presence in the Middle East since it launched an intervention in Syria in 2015, turning the tide of the civil war in favor of its close ally, Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Russia has in the past fired Kalibr cruise missiles from frigates and submarines stationed in the Mediterranean Sea at militant targets to support Syrian army offensives.
Putin on Wednesday said only warships armed with Kalibr missiles would be on permanent standby, and not submarines.

Announcing the deployment while addressing the Russian high military command at a meeting in the Black Sea city of Sochi, Putin said it was “due to the remaining terrorist threat in Syria.”
Moscow already has a permanent naval base at Tartus, on the Syrian coast, and an air base at Hmeimim in Syria.
Last month Russia hinted it would also supply advanced S-300 ground-to-air missiles to Assad despite objections from Israel, which has lobbied Russia hard not to transfer the missiles.
On Friday, however, in an apparent U-turn following a visit to Moscow by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Russia said it was not in talks with Syria about supplying the missiles. It said it did not think they were needed.
The Kremlin denied it had performed a U-turn on the missile question or that any decision was linked to Netanyahu’s visit.


Pakistan to host SCO meeting for first time

Updated 19 min 44 sec ago
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Pakistan to host SCO meeting for first time

  • Legal experts will discuss regional terror threats, enhancing counter-terror cooperation
  • “We are ready to share our experiences in tackling the menace of terrorism through the SCO-RATS,” the Foreign Ministry says

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan will host the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s (SCO) Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) meeting from May 23-25 in Islamabad, the Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.
This is the first ever SCO meeting to be held in Pakistan, which became a member in June 2017.
Pakistan’s government “is pleased to welcome delegations from SCO member states to Islamabad,” said the ministry.
Legal experts from member states China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, India, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Pakistan, as well as representatives of the RATS executive committee, will participate in the meeting.
They will discuss terrorist threats confronting the region, and ways to enhance counterterrorism cooperation between SCO member states.
“We are ready to share our experiences in tackling the menace of terrorism through the SCO-RATS,” the ministry said.