A flotilla of Russian warships is now in the eastern Mediterranean off the Syrian coast after being sent to back up a bombing campaign in support of President Bashar al-Assad.
The commander of Russia's flagship Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier, Sergei Artamonov, said via videolink that the ships are now in the 'designated zone... in the eastern Mediterranean' and 'are now jointly carrying out tasks, manoeuvering to the west of the Syrian coast'.
The battle group has travelled to Syria from the North Sea through the English Channel in the biggest such naval deployment in recent years as part of Russia's military intervention in Syria.
He confirmed that aircraft are already taking off from the ship's deck to view the conflict zone.
'Flights are being carried out from the deck... they are working on coordination with the shore port,' he said.
'The flights have been going on practically every day for the last four days,' he added.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Sunday the Obama administration would do everything it could to implement a global agreement to combat climate change before President-elect Donald Trump takes office.
Kerry made the comments during a visit to New Zealand just before setting off to Marrakesh, Morocco to take part in climate talks between 200 nations.
Donald Trump, who calls global warming a hoax and has promised to quit the Paris Agreement, was considering ways to bypass a theoretical four-year procedure for leaving the accord, according to a source on Trump's transition team.
Kerry declined to speculate on what Trump might do about the Paris Agreement and noted that there was sometimes a difference between campaigning and governing.
But the top American diplomat was clear he thought further action to prevent climate change should be a priority.
"The evidence is mounting in ways that people in public life should not dare to avoid accepting as a mandate for action," Kerry told journalists at a press conference in Wellington with New Zealand Prime Minister John Key
"Until January 20 when this administration is over, we intend to do everything possible to meet our responsibility to future generations to be able to address this threat to life itself on the planet."