Russia has reported the deployment of an advanced intelligence naval ship in the eastern Mediterranean. The Russian Navy has deployed its CCB-201 for intelligence operations off the coast of Syria. CCB-201 was deemed one of the largest intelligence-collection ships in the Russian fleet.
“The ship arrived in June 2013 and would stay in the region for a while,” a Russian Navy source said. CCB-201 was designed to collect signals, including telephones, e-mail and faxes from countries along the Mediterranean coast.
The source said the vessel was capable of intercepting messages from NATO and Arab allies to Sunni rebels in Cyprus, Syria and Turkey. The Russian Navy has deployed similar vessels during Middle East crises. They included Russian Navy deployment of CCB-201, constructed in 1980, in the Gulf.
The sources said CCB-201, manned by 150 crew members, would also decryptsignals from NATO. They said the information would be transmitted to Russian Navy facilities, including its sole foreign base in the Syrian port of Tartous.