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Black Sea Fleet's Anti-Piracy Mission Frustrated.
Black Sea Fleet (BSF) will not be able to attend the international anti-piracy campaign in the Gulf of Aden by the end of the current year. Passage of BSF task unit through the Suez Canal to the Indian Ocean was canceled; the ships will return to Sevastopol in mid-Dec, a source in Russian General Staff told Interfax. "That was caused by the situation in the East Mediterranean. No instructions to evacuate Russian citizens from the Gaza Strip were received", said the interviewee. "Black Sea Fleet flagship missile cruiser Moskva has already set a course for Sevastopol and is expected to arrive there next week. Destroyer Smetlivy is performing assigned tasks near the Crete Island, landing ships Novocherkassk and Saratov along with two auxiliary vessels are gearing up for passing Bosporus and Dardanelles straits with the view to return to home bases by the year end", said the source. "Request to pass the straits has been already addressed to Turkish authorities", he added. Due to changes in BSF anti-piracy deployment plans, only Pacific Fleet (PF) task unit will be on the counter-piracy mission off Somalia since Dec 2012 through Jan 2013. Ships of the PF task unit are to arrive there in the next week. The source added that BSF landing ships Novocherkassk and Saratov had called at Russian Navy's maintenance base in Syrian port Tartus in Nov 2012.
Black Sea Fleet's anti-pirate mission in Indian Ocean cancelled.
"The ships' cruise to the Indian Ocean through the Suez Canal to ensure the security of civilian navigation in the Gulf of Aden has been cancelled because of the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean. No instructions have been received regarding evacuation of Russian citizens from the Gaza Strip," the source said. The unit's operations in the area will be phased out stage by stage, the source said. The first to go to Sevastopol will be the Black Sea Fleet flagship, the Moskva missile cruiser, which should reach the homeport next week. The Moskva will be followed by the Smetlivy destroyer, which is currently on a mission near Crete. The Novocherkassk and the Saratov landing ships and also two support vessels are preparing for the cruise and should return to their base several days later. "Russia has already filed a bid for its ships to pass through the Dardanelles and the Bosporus," he said.