While the ceasefire between Israel and
Gaza factions appeared to hold for second day, Russia has ordered six of its warships to remain in the Mediterranean Sea to in order to help evacuate Russian nationals from the Strip in case the hostilities escalate again, news agencies in the European country said Friday, citing a source in the navy.
The flotilla reportedly includes a guided-missile cruiser, a patrol ship, two landing ships, a tugboat and a sea tanker.
The combat ships were ordered "to remain in the designated area of the Eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea for a possible evacuation of Russian nationals from the Gaza Strip in case the Israeli-Palestinian conflict escalated," the source said.
Russia's Moskva guided-missile cruiser
Gaza is under a maritime blockade and it remains unclear how these vessels would approach the enclave's shores if such an emergency occured. Russian media outlets reported that there are roughly 400 Russian nationals living in the Gaza Strip.
The Russian defense ministry said Thursday that these ships might dock in the Syrian port of Tartous before joining an anti-pirate force in Somalia.