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Russia may evacuate personnel from Syria if attacked

Russia may evacuate personnel from Syria if attacked

Moscow: Russian servicemen may be evacuated from the country's naval base in Tartus, Syria, if it comes under attack, Navy chief Vice Admiral Viktor Chirkov said.

"I am not the one to issue orders. We have the defence minister (for that)," Chirkov told Ekho Moskvy Radio.

"If we have to evacuate the personnel that is currently deployed there, we certainly will."

Chirkov stressed that an order by the commander in chief of the Russian Armed Forces (the president) and Russia's top political leadership was required for that.

Chirkov said earlier said Russia had no plans to abandon its naval base in Tartus.

The Russian Navy needs the base to provide maintenance and technical support to Russian warships in the Mediterranean, as well as those on an anti-piracy mission in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean, he said.

Russia has repeatedly denied media reports that it was sending warships to Syria and delivering weapons to the Middle Eastern country.

Russia's Black Sea Fleet commander Rear Admiral Alexander Fedosenkov said the country's warships in the Mediterranean are preparing for naval drills due in September, but were not carrying out any military tasks in Syria.


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