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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russian destroyer leaves Baltic base on urgent mission

RIA Novosti

21/01/2009 18:44 KALININGRAD/MOSCOW, January 21 (RIA Novosti) - Russian missile destroyer Admiral Chabanenko left a naval shipyard in the country's Kaliningrad exclave on an urgent mission after having hurried repair work carried out, a shipyard spokesman said on Wednesday.

"Admiral Chabanenko urgently left the Baltiisk naval base on January 20 after receiving orders for a mission of state importance," Sergei Mikhailov said.

Following the statement, a Russian military-diplomatic source told RIA Novosti that the destroyer was heading to the Mediterranean for combat training.

"The Admiral Chabanenko destroyer has received orders from Navy Headquarters to head for the Mediterranean to accomplish a number of combat training tasks," the source said, adding that it may continue to the Gulf of Aden.

A Russian Navy source said earlier that the warship would join the Admiral Vinogradov missile destroyer from Russia's Pacific Fleet, which is currently on an anti-piracy mission in the waters off the Horn of Africa.

Chabanenko docked for repairs at the Yantar shipyard on January 15 after its recent Latin American tour-of-duty. The original repair schedule, including the overhaul of the propulsion system, envisioned the work being finished by the end of February.

The Northern Fleet destroyer accompanied the Pyotr Veliky nuclear-powered missile cruiser on a tour of the Atlantic and the Caribbean, participating in joint naval exercises with the Venezuelan navy, passing through the Panama Canal, and visiting a number of Latin American countries, including Cuba.

The Admiral Chabanenko, an Udaloy II class missile destroyer, entered service with the Russian Navy in January 1999. It is Russia's only multipurpose destroyer and is intended to be the counterpart to U.S. Arleigh Burke class ships.

Designed primarily as an anti-submarine warfare platform, with a long cruising range and underway replenishment capabilities, Udaloy class ships provide support to surface task forces.

The Udaloy II is modified by the replacement of the SS-N-14 Silex anti-submarine missiles by the SS-N-22 Sunburn anti-ship missiles, reflecting a change in emphasis from anti-submarine warfare to surface combat.

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