Washington, Pentagon. US Defense Department intelligence officials are deeply concerned about a Russian naval vessel, apparently on a track to confront three US Naval ships that launched a Tomahawk missile attack on Syria early Friday morning.
The Russian navy frigate, Admiral Grigorovich RFS-494, crossed through the Bosphorus Straits “a few hours ago” from the Black Sea, according to a U.S. defense official monitoring the ship’s movements. Another Russian warship entered the eastern Mediterranean Friday and was heading toward the area where two U.S. Navy destroyers launched missile strikes into Syria, naval intelligence sources disclosed.
Also Friday, in related developments, one of the American destroyers that launched the missiles into Syria started heading to an undisclosed location to rearm. Earlier the US struck a Syrian airbase in retaliation for this week’s chemical weapons attack against civilians, including infants and small children, US military officials said.
The Russian attack frigate was bound for the Syrian port of Tartus on a routine voyage, the Russian news agency TASS reported Friday, citing a military-diplomatic source. The Russian ship is armed with cruise missiles and will visit the logistics base in Tartus, Syria, US intelligence sources reported.
The Russian navy ship was near the Black Sea straits, Tass reported. It left on a voyage after stopping at Novorossiisk for supplies and taking part in a joint exercise with Turkish ships in the Black Sea. US Navy intelligence indicated a “robust surveillance” of the Russian naval threat to US coalition operations would continue.