The cruiser Moskva, patrol Smetlivyi, the landing craft Novocherkassk and Saratov, and the tug MB-304 and the tanker Ivan Bubnov have received the order to position off Gaza to evacuate Russian civilians if hostilities between Israel and Gaza were to resume.
Although Israel and Hamas have declared a cease-fire Wednesday, a group of ships "was ordered to be positioned in a specific area of the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea for a possible evacuation of Russian citizens the Gaza Strip in case of escalation of Israeli-Palestinian conflict, "said a source within the central command of the Russian Navy, quoted by Interfax news agencies and Ria Novosti.
However, their crews continue drills and exercises daily, which also includes simulations of combat.
According to what has been reported in the Russian media, nearly 400 civilians Russian nationals live in the Gaza Strip.
Thursday 22, the Russian Ministry of Defence indicated that these ships could dock at the Syrian port of Tartus, the only Russian naval establishment in the Mediterranean, before joining a mission against piracy off Somalia.
The base in Tartus, situated 220 km northwest of Damascus, was created under an agreement concluded in 1971, during the Soviet era.