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Russia denies reports of warships heading to Syria

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 3:31 a.m. HST, Aug 3, 2012

MOSCOW >> The Russian Defense Ministry denied reports today that the country is sending three warships carrying some 360 marines total to the Syrian port of Tartus.

The reports, which quoted an unnamed military official, said the vessels were sailing to Tartus to pick up supplies.

The vessels were expected to spend several days there before heading back to the Russian Black Sea port of Novorossiysk, according to the reports, two of which were from state-owned news agencies.

But the Defense Ministry dismissed the accounts, saying in a statement that it had no such plans and that the ships had enough supplies.

Russia has steadfastly supported Syria’s government during its bloody 17-month crackdown on an opposition movement, despite pressure from the West for sanctions on the regime in Damascus.

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