Putin says Russian warships permanently on duty in Mediterranean

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In this frame grab provided by Russian Defense Ministry press service, a long-range Kalibr cruise missile is launched by a Russian Navy ship in the eastern Mediterranean, Aug. 19, 2016.

MOSCOW, May 16 (Xinhua) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that warships armed with Kalibr cruise missiles will be permanently on duty in the Mediterranean due to persistent terrorist threats from Syria.

"This year, 102 expeditions of ships and submarines are planned," Putin said at a meeting with senior military officials and representatives of the defense industry.

He praised the professionalism and coordination of Russian ships and submarines during military operations in Syria, which had destroyed important facilities and infrastructure used by terrorists.

Russian troops have been participating in the fight against the Islamic State and insurgent groups in Syria since September 2015 at the request of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Putin said the Russian Navy has expanded its presence in the Mediterranean, the North Atlantic and the Asia-Pacific region.

Russia will strengthen the naval component of its strategic nuclear forces and increase the role of the Navy in ensuring nuclear deterrence, he said.

The country will continue to equip the Navy with the latest weapons, means of communications, reconnaissance and target indication systems, Putin said.