Russian soldiers stand on the deck of the Russian Navy large landing ship Yamal as it sets sail in the Bosphorus, on its way to the Mediterranean Sea, in Istanbul, Turkey, December 9, 2015. REUTERS/Murad Sezer
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Nine months later the ship is back at sea, renamed Kazan-60, reflagged as part of Russia's naval auxiliary fleet, and repurposed as an unlikely part of Moscow's biggest military operation outside the old Soviet boundaries since the Cold War.Photos of the ship, now flying the Russian flag, have appeared on blogs of Russian military enthusiasts.The ships have been given new Russian names and enlisted in Moscow's naval auxiliary, a logistics fleet which Russia, like other maritime powers, maintains separate from its regular navy.In addition to the Kazan-60, the newly acquired Russian ships include at least three previously operated by Turkish companies, now sporting new Russian names painted onto their hulls: the Dvinitsa-50, the Kyzyl-60 and the Vologda-50 .Public ship tracking transponder data, which is available from Thomson Reuters, parent company of Reuters, shows all four vessels visited Russia's Black Sea port of Novorossiysk in the first three weeks of October, as the Russian airstrikes on Syrian targets gathered force.
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