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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russia's Pyotr Veliky missile cruiser to make port call in Syria

RIA Novosti


MOSCOW, April 12 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's nuclear-powered missile cruiser Pyotr Veliky will make a port call in Syria's Mediterranean port of Tartus ahead of Russian Navy drills in the Indian Ocean, a Defense Ministry spokesman said on Monday.

The flagship of Russia's Northern Fleet left the fleet's headquarters in Severomorsk on March 31 to join the warships of other Russian fleets, including the Moskva missile cruiser, in the Indian Ocean.

"At the moment, the heavy nuclear-powered missile cruiser Pyotr Veliky is crossing the Mediterranean Sea, and will dock in the port of Tartus on April 13," the spokesman said.

In September 2008, Russia was reported to be in talks with Syria about turning Tartus into a permanent base for Russian warships in the Middle East.

Russia announced in 2007 that it was building up its naval presence in the world's oceans. Once one the world's most powerful navies, Russia now has few ships regularly deployed.

The 2008 tour of Pyotr Veliky in the Mediterranean, Caribbean, South Atlantic and the Indian Oceans was lauded by many in Russia as the country's naval reappearance on a global scale and criticized in the West as an echo of the Cold War.

During the Caribbean leg of the tour, the cruiser held joint naval exercises with Venezuela. It was the first such deployment since the Cold War, when Latin America became an ideological battleground between the Soviet Union and the United States.

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