A Russian ship that tried to deliver attack helicopters to Syria last month has again left its Arctic port carrying the same military cargo, the state's military export agency said on Friday.
"The Mi-25 helicopters subject for return to Syria after their repair are currently aboard the Alaed, which is sailing from the port in Murmansk to another port in Russia," Interfax quoted a Rosoboronexport statement as saying.
A source in the Murmansk port told Interfax that the ship had left on Tuesday for the port of Baltiysk in Russia's Kaliningrad exclave east of Poland.
The marinetraffic.com website, which tracks sea missions traffic using official radar signals, showed the ship sailing off the Norweigan coast on its last reporting date Thursday.
The ship's signal was switched off on Friday and one report citing the ship's owner Femco said the Alaed might in fact be sailing for Saint Petersburg.
The Russian foreign ministry has confirmed that the Alaed was planning to deliver three repaired attack helicopters and an air defense system to Syria when it was exposed by the U.S. State Department last month.
The ship, a private cargo vessel, was forced to turn back when its British insurer ended up pulling cover.
Russia argues that it must return the helicopters to Syria under a binding and legal commercial contract signed in 2008 long before the current bloody conflict before regime forces and the armed opposition began.
Some officials suggested the parts may be taken to Syria by air. More recent indications suggested Russia preferred to try the sea route a second time.
The Alaed's departure from its port comes as Russia sends a flotilla to the Mediterranean to conduct exercises that Moscow has said are not linked to the fighting affecting its main Middle East ally.
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