MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia criticized the United states on Tuesday for sending warships close to Syria, saying the deployments would exacerbate tension as Washington prepares for a possible military strike.
"The pressure being applied by the United States causes particular concern," Russian Defense Ministry official Oleg Dogayev was quoted as saying by the state-run Itar-Tass news agency.
He said "the dispatch of ships armed with cruise missiles toward Syria's shores has a negative effect on the situation in the region."
Five U.S. destroyers and an amphibious ship are in the Mediterranean, poised for possible cruise missile strikes against Syria, and U.S. officials said the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz and four other ships in its strike group moved into the Red Sea on Monday.
Russia, one of the Syrian government's main arms suppliers, opposes military intervention over an alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria. Moscow is also sending new warships to the Mediterranean but says it is just rotating ships in the area.
(Writing by Steve Gutterman, Editing by Timothy Heritage)