Russia refutes claims that expropriated Ukrainian warship will be used in Syrian operation

Russia has refuted claims that the large Ukrainian landing ship, "Konstantin Olshansky", which was captured during the annexation of Crimea, will be used for military operations in Syria.

This was reported to the Interfax news agency by an informed source.

“The General Staff of the Russian Navy does not plan to use the ship in the operation which has been called the 'Syrian Express' by foreign media.  This ship’s return, along with others, to Ukraine is currently suspended due to the conflict in the east of the country.  It is being stored in Sevastopol," the source said.

In addition, the source reported that there is a reduced crew on the ship that maintains its systems and machinery, but reports that no repairs have been made.

However, the Duma newspaper, citing a source in the General Staff of the Ukrainian Navy, stated that Russia is actively repairing the ship propulsion system in order to use it for transportation of military supplies to Syria.  The source said that Russia could disguise "Konstantin Olshansky" as another ship.

The ship was built for Ukraine in 1985 in Gdansk.  It was designed for the landing of marines, tanks and other military equipment in unprepared coastal areas.

  Russia, Ukraine, crimea