Renowned ship-spotter and international affairs consultant Yörük Işık reported on twitter that two missile corvettes from the Russian Navy’s Caspian Flotilla entered the Mediterranean Sea.
The report identified the ships as two Buyan M-class corvettes, the Veliky Ustyug 651 and the Grad Sviyazhsk 652, both armed with SS-N-30 Kalibr land attack cruise missiles. The ships passed through the Bosporus, bound for the Mediterranean.
Işık noted that the ships were likely headed to a Russian military base at the port of Tartus in Syria. Later, the information department of the Russian Black Sea Fleet informed RIA Novosti that Grad Sviyazhsk and Veliky Ustyug are carrying out a planned transition from the port of Sevastopol to the Mediterranean. Small missile ships will be part of the Russian Navy formation in the far sea zone, the department specified.
On June 15, it was reported that an Alligator-class large landing ship of the Russian Navy the Nikolai Filchenkov had crossed into the Mediterranean through the Bosporus, also sailing to the port of Tartus.
In October 2015, the Grad Sviyazhsk and Veliky Ustyug, as well as the Uglich and the Dagestan patrol ships conducted a missile strike against Islamic State targets in Syria, launching 26 cruise missiles.