Another Russian navy ship passed through the Turkiye’s Dardanelles Strait, local sources said on Wednesday.

A rescue vessel of the Black Sea fleet of Russia “Epron”, with a length of 90 meters (over 295.27 feet) entered the strait from the direction of the Aegean Sea and reached the Dardanelles Strait.

Dardanelles Strait is a narrow and natural waterway in northwestern Turkiye that forms part of the continental boundary between Asia and Europe.

The Prutt-class ship, which continued its course in the direction of the Sea of Marmara, was accompanied by the Turkish Coast Guard Command at the crossing, the sources said, adding no information was given about the port where the ship will go.

On Tuesday, Russia’s “Dmitriy Rogachev 375” patrol ship with a length of 104 meters (over 341.2 feet) had also entered the strait from the direction of the Aegean Sea and reached the Dardanelles Strait.

Moscow and Kyiv have been locked in a conflict since hostilities in the eastern Donbas region broke out in 2014 after Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula.

Russia is accused of amassing thousands of troops near Ukraine, prompting fears that it could be planning another military offensive against its former Soviet neighbor.

The US and its allies have warned of an imminent attack, and threatened Russia with “severe consequences.”

Moscow, however, has denied it is planning an attack and said its troops are there for exercises.

The Russian Defense Ministry said on Tuesday some of its troops are returning to their bases as combat training missions “are coming to an end.” But a large-scale Russian-Belarusian military drill will last until Feb. 20.

NATO, however, said there has been no de-escalation on the ground.

* Writing by Merve Berker

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