MOSCOW, Sept. 11 (Xinhua) -- Russia beefs up its naval presence in the Mediterranean Sea with three more warships heading to that region, the Defense Ministry said Wednesday.
The guard cruiser Moskva has passed through the Strait of Gibraltar and is expected to reach the designated area next Tuesday, said the ministry.
Upon its arrival, Moskva would replace the anti-submarine ship Admiral Panteleyev as the flagship of the Russian Navy unit in the Mediterranean.
Meanwhile, the big landing ship Nikolai Filchenkov had also left from the Russian port of Novorossiisk late Tuesday, RIA Novosti news agency reported, citing an unnamed source in the Navy.
The Nikolai Filchenkov would enter the Mediterranean on Thursday, said the source, further noting that after its arrival, another guard ship Smetlivy would head toward Syria from the naval base of Sevastopol in Crimea, Ukraine.
The three ships would meet in a designated area on Sept. 15-17, the source added.
At the end of September, Russia also plans to deploy two more warships in the Eastern Mediterranean: a missile boat Ivanovets and another small missile ship Shtil, the source told RIA Novosti.
Last Friday, Russia deployed two big landing ships Minsk and Novocherkassk in the Mediterranean.
In August, the Russian Defense Ministry said the Navy would conduct "a routine rotation" in the Mediterranean in September.
Up till now, the Russian permanent naval group in that region consists of seven vessels: big landing ships Peresvet, Admiral Nevelski, Minsk, Novocherkassk, Alexander Shabalin, big anti-submarine ship Admiral Panteleyev and guard ship Neustrashimyi.