ST. PETERSBURG, July 16 (RIA Novosti)
A Russian ship purportedly carrying helicopter gunships to Syria will arrive in the port of St. Petersburg by the end of the month, the ship’s owner, Femco, said on Monday.
“At the moment the vessel is headed from Murmansk to St. Petersburg where it will be loaded up and will then proceed to the Far East,” the company said.
Russian warships have not so far received any orders to escort the MV Alaed, a high ranking source at the Defense Ministry told RIA Novosti.
“As of right now there are no such plans or missions for the Navy,” he said.
The MV Alaed, sailing under the Curacao flag, had to return to the northern port of Murmansk after its British insurers pulled their coverage as it rounded the coast of Scotland. Femco declined to comment on the nature of the cargo on board.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said the MV Alaed carried overhauled disassembled helicopters to Syria, not gunships, as claimed by Western media, which said the ship was carrying armaments and ammunition to Syria.
The helicopters became the center of a diplomatic row last week, with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton claiming Russia was supplying weapons that would be used against civilian protesters.
Femco said in late June the MV Alaed will now operate under the Russian flag, which was necessary “protect its interests, the security of the ship and its crew, all of whom are Russian citizens.”
The company said the MV Alaed's final destination was the Far Eastern port of Vladivostok.
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