#3 - JRL 7019
Russia won't send ships to Persian Gulf - defense minister
SOFRINO (Moscow Region). Jan 15 (Interfax) - Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov has reaffirmed that Russia has no plans to send ships to the Persian Gulf.
"We do not have any plans to send ships of the Navy or any other unit of the Armed Forces to the Persian Gulf. This is an official statement," Ivanov told journalists in Sofrino.
"Reports about a possible deployment of Russian warships to the Persian Gulf were triggered by the preparation of a probable military operation of the United States and their allies against Iraq," he said.
"On the other hand, we have serious plans for military training of all services of the Armed Forces, including the Navy. There are plans to send ships to the Indian Ocean. But the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf are not the same thing," he said.
"This has nothing to do with plans or intentions to conduct or not conduct a military action. It is not related to Iraq at all," he said.