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Russia to send two ships to east Mediterranean: Interfax

(Reuters) - Russia is sending two warships to the eastern Mediterranean, Interfax news agency said on Thursday, as Western powers prepare for military action over last week's alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria.

Interfax news agency quoted a source in the armed forces' general staff as saying a missile cruiser and an anti-submarine ship would arrive in the coming days because of the "well-known situation" - a clear reference to the conflict in Syria.

The navy later denied the deployment was linked to events in Syria and said it was part of a long-planned rotation of its ships in the Mediterranean. It did not say what kind of vessels, or how many, were on their way to the region.

The initial Interfax report had made clear that the aim was to beef up the navy's presence and not to replace the ships in the Mediterranean. The reason for the discrepancy in the two reports was not immediately clear.

(Reuters) - Russia will send two ships to the east Mediterranean to strengthen its naval presence because of the "well-known situation" there, Interfax news agency said on Thursday referring to the Syria crisis.

The agency quoted a source in the armed forces' general staff as saying an anti-submarine vessel and a missile cruiser would be sent in the coming days because the situation "required us to make some adjustments" in the naval force. The Defense Ministry was not immediately available for comment.

(Reporting By Timothy Heritage, editing by Elizabeth Piper)

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