Ukraine's ex-PM proposes finishing missile cruiser with Russia
17:59 19/09/2009 KIEV, September 19 (RIA Novosti) - Ukraine's former premier, Viktor Yanukovych, who now heads an opposition party, proposed on Saturday finishing the construction of a missile cruiser stalled for almost 15 years now jointly with Russia.
Construction of the Slava-class Admiral Lobov cruiser (Project 1164) was launched in 1984 at the Nikolayev shipyard in Ukraine but stalled at the final stage, when it was more than 90 % ready, in late 1980s due to a sharp reduction in military expenditures. The cruiser was renamed the Ukraina in 1992.
"There is a possibility to finish the [Ukraina missile] cruiser jointly with Russia... Provided there is a relevant political decision between Ukraine and Russia this issue will be solved," Yanukovych said when visiting the shipyard.
Yanukovych and the ex-Soviet state's incumbent prime minister, Yulia Tymoshenko, lead the opinion polls ahead of presidential elections scheduled for January 17.
Oleksandr Kuzmuk, a former Ukrainian defense minister and member of the Yanukovych-led Party of Regions, said most of the vessel's systems currently need modernization.
According to data from last October, about $30 million is needed to complete its construction.
Slava-class cruisers were designed as surface strike ships with some anti-aircraft and ASW capability. They carry 16 SS-N-12 Sandbox nuclear-capable supersonic anti-ship missiles, with launches mounted in four pairs on either side of the superstructure.
In addition, the cruiser is reportedly armed with 64 SA-N-6 Grumble long-range surface-to-air missiles (SAM) and 40 SA-N-4 Gecko short-range SAMs.
Russia has three Slava-class cruisers in service with its Navy.
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