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.


Iranian people will punch US Secretary of State in the mouth: Iranian commander

Updated 3 min 37 sec ago
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Iranian people will punch US Secretary of State in the mouth: Iranian commander

BEIRUT: The Iranian people will punch the US Secretary of State in the mouth in response to a new American plan to pressure Iran, a senior Revolutionary Guards commander said on Tuesday.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday demanded Iran make sweeping changes that would effectively force it to reverse the recent spread of its military and poiltical influence through the Middle East to the shores of the Mediterranean Sea.
“The people of Iran should stand united in the face of this and they will deliver a strong punch to the mouth of the American Secretary of State and anyone who backs them,” Ismail Kowsari, the deputy commander of the Sarollah Revolutionary Guards base in Tehran said on Tuesday, according to the Iranian Labour News Agency.