Russia has concentrated five landing ships in the eastern Mediterranean in a show of force meant to deter western nations from intervening militarily in Syria, The Sunday Times quoted a Russian diplomat as saying.
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According to the report, the ships are carrying military vehicles and hundreds of Russian marines, and are being accompanied by combat vessels.
While officially Russia has claimed the ships have been deployed to partake in an exercise to "improve the management, maintenance and testing of the interaction of naval forces,” the Times quoted the diplomat as saying the marines were meant to deter the West from deploying ground forces in the uprising against Syrian President Bashar Assad.
“Russia should be prepared for any developments, as it believes the situation in Syria might reach its peak before Easter,” the Times quoted the diplomatic source as saying.