Russian ship with helicopters bound for Syria turns back

A Russian ship that tried to supply attack helicopters to Syria last month before being forced back was on Sunday sighted sailing back home after unexpectedly starting a new voyage.

The privately-chartered Alaed had to return to Russia after its initial attempt to deliver the controversial cargo to President Bashar al-Assad’s regime in June was exposed by the US State Department.

The 9,000-tonne private cargo was forced to turn back when its British insurer ended up pulling coverage.

The ship then docked in an Arctic port before setting sail again on Tuesday following pledges by Russian military officials to complete the delivery despite the anger it caused in the West.

The timing of the second voyage sparked alarm as it coincided with the deployment of a Russian flotilla to the Mediterranean that could have provided protection from any foreign attempt to block the ship.

The Russian arms export agency on Friday confirmed that the helicopters were aboard the Alaed when it set sail for the second time but refused further comment.

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Categories: Europe, Russia

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