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28 Feb, 2020 11:23

Russian missile frigates passing through Turkish straits amid Idlib escalation

Russian missile frigates passing through Turkish straits amid Idlib escalation

A pair of advanced Russian missiles frigates is passing through the Turkey-controlled straits while en-route to the Mediterranean. It comes as dilomatic tensions between Moscow and Ankara over Syria’s Idlib are not letting down.

The ‘Admiral Grigorovich’ and its sister ship ‘Admiral Makarov’ are among the more modern assets of the Russian Navy, capable of firing the advanced Kalibr-NK cruise missiles. Part of the Russian Black Sea fleet, they are currently moving to join Russia’s naval forces in the Mediterranean as part of a scheduled rotation.

“The third frigate of the class, the ‘Admiral Essen’ has been on a mission in the Mediterranean Sea since December 2019,” a spokesman for the fleet said as cited by Interfax news agency.

Their passage through the Dardanelles and the Bosphorus, the straits controlled by Turkey, comes at a period of heightened tension between the Ankara and Moscow. Turkey blames Russia’s ally Syria for the deaths of its soldiers in the Syrian Idlib Governorate. The worst incident happened on Thursday, when 33 Turkish soldiers were killed by a Syrian airstrike, according to Ankara.

Moscow says Turkey failed to report the location of its troops in Idlib and allowed them to get mingled with terrorist forces, which led to the tragic outcome. Turkish officials insist that Russia was informed about the deployment, and deny the presence of militants in the area where the strike had happened.

Also on rt.com Turkish soldiers were with ‘terrorist groups’ when they were hit by Syrian military – Russian MoD

Moscow, for its part, has maintained that Turkey still fails to separate so-called moderate opposition from terrorists in the Idlib de-escalation zone.

Turkey has the right to deny passage through its straits to any nation’s warships if it decides its security demands it. But no reports immediately indicated that the Russian frigates would be turned back.

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