OREANDA-NEWS. December 25, 2012. Large dock landing ships (LSD) Azov and Nikolai Filchenkov set sail from Novorossiysk to the Syrian port of Tartus with units of marine force and military vehicles on board, Interfax reported citing the RF General Staff.

According to the General Staff, "Special forces are tasked to ensure the security of ships while crossing the straits and ports anchorage."

Missile cruiser Moskva and frigate Smetliviy will accompany the LSDs during en route to the Syrian port of Tartus, to a Russian Navy logistics base. In the case of conflict escalation the warships will evacuate Russian nationals from the country.