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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russia, Venezuela warships to hold live firing drills on Dec.1

RIA Novosti

25/11/2008 15:41 MOSCOW, November 25 (RIA Novosti) - Russian and Venezuelan warships will conduct artillery live firing drills on December 1 as part of joint naval exercises in the Caribbean, a senior Russian lawmaker said on Tuesday.

A task force from Russia's Northern Fleet led by the Pyotr Veliky missile cruiser is set to arrive in Venezuela on Tuesday on a planned visit following a two-month sortie in the Atlantic and Mediterranean, which saw Russian ships visiting Libya, Turkey and France.

"The exercises will involve joint sea rescue, maneuvering, and artillery firing drills," said Viktor Zavarzin, chairman of the Defense Committee in Russia's lower house of parliament.

Two Russian warships, the Pyotr Veliky and the Udaloy class destroyer Admiral Chabanenko, will participate, while Venezuela's Navy will be represented by two or three combat vessels, he said.

Zavarzin also said that the exercises will be conducted in line with bilateral agreements and in concordance with international maritime law. They will be held in a zone beyond Venezuela's territorial waters, about 150 nautical miles from the coast.

All shipping in the area will be suspended for the duration of the exercises after proper notification due at the end of November.

Following the Latin American visit the Russian task force is due to take part in drills with ships from Russia's Pacific Fleet in the Indian Ocean.

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