Voices from Russia

Friday, 13 January 2012

Russian-Owned Freighter Unloads Munitions in Syria

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On Thursday, a Russian-owned ship reportedly carrying weapons to Syria docked in Tartus despite assurances it would change destination, the Turkish newspaper Hürriyet reported. The paper cited Turkish Foreign Ministry official Selçuk Ünal, who said, “The Turkish navy learned that the Russian ship MV Chariot docked at a Syrian port today”. Russia maintains a Soviet-era naval maintenance site near Tartus, which is its only military foothold in the Mediterranean. The cargo ship MV Chariot, flying the St Vincent and Grenadines flag, was en route from St Petersburg to the Syrian port of Latakia carrying from 35 to 60 tons of ammunition and explosives meant for the Syrian Defence Ministry. The Russian Foreign Ministry said the ship carried a “dangerous cargo”, but didn’t elaborate. According to documents, the cargo sender was the Russian state arms trader Rosoboronexport.

The ship’s initial route lay in Turkish territorial waters, which isn’t an EU member, so there wasn’t any violation of the relevant EU restrictions on Syria. On Tuesday, however, the ship, docked for refuelling at the Cypriot port of Limassol. Cypriot authorities boarded the ship for a document check. They also tried to examine the cargo, but couldn’t open four containers in the hold because of “confined space”, the Cypriot Foreign Ministry said in a statement. They, however, ruled that the ship carried “dangerous cargo”. In about an hour, they allowed it to leave “after the ship decided to change its destination and not go to Syria”, Cypriot government spokesman Stefanos Stefanou said.

12 January 2012

RIA-Novosti

http://en.rian.ru/russia/20120112/170725460.html

Editor’s Note:

The Bear sez to Langley… “Hands off Syria!” The USA wants to bomb Syria, especially as it would make Obama look “good” in an election year. Yet, the USA can’t do it, the Russians and Chinese block all action at the UN. As for the ship and its cargo, I believe that an underpaid Cypriot customs official got an “envelope”… all mature adults “in the know” know what happened. It’s “how things are done in that part of the world”, y’know…

BMD

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