Russia holds military presence steady in Mediterranean

Sept. 3, 2013 at 10:36 AM

MOSCOW, Sept. 3 (UPI) -- There's enough of a naval presence in the Mediterranean Sea to keep the Kremlin up to speed on regional developments, a military official said Tuesday.

The Israeli Defense Ministry issued a statement Tuesday from its Facebook page acknowledging it fired a ballistic device in the Mediterranean Sea in coordination with the U.S. Missile Defense Agency. The launch comes as U.S. President Barack Obama calls on congressional leaders to weigh in on a possible military strike on Syria.

A military source told Russia's state-supported news agency RIA Novosti on condition of anonymity there were no plans to send more naval assets to the region.

"There have been no orders to expand anything there, and there will not be," the source said. "The strength and type of forces that we have in the Mediterranean Sea today are sufficient to keep us fully informed about what is happening."

Western allies are mulling a military response to the alleged use of chemical weapons during the Syrian civil war. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Washington suspects more than 1,000 people were killed in a government-backed attack on a Damascus suburb last month.

Russia has objected to military intervention in Syria. It counts Damascus as one of its key weapons customers.

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