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13 Jan, 2008 00:04

Russian cruiser heads for the Mediterranean

The missile cruiser The Moskva has set sail for military exercises in the Mediterranean Sea. The mission is part of Russia’s programme of reviving its navy for the 21st century.

First commissioned in 1983, it is the flagship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet.

The ‘Moskva’, former ‘Slava’ is an 11,490 tonne vessel. It has just embarked on a new mission and is sailing for the Mediterranean.
Leaving the historic port of Sevastopol, it will make its way through the Bosporus strait before reaching an undisclosed destination somewhere near Malta.

Here the cruiser will join the Northern Fleet for training exercises, as the Russian Navy renews its military patrol of the Mediterranean.

The move is supported by First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Mevedev, who has called for Russia’s maritime power to be restored.

“We hope for the best. This is the first time since the Soviet Union that such mission will be conducted on such a scale,” a sailor says.  
The composition of the fleet is extensive. An aircraft carrier, anti-submarine ships, more than 40 planes and ten helicopters will support the ‘Moskva’ missile cruiser.

“The cruiser will carry out two missile shooting exercises. The first shooting – form its main striking system. The second will be an anti-aircraft shooting. The cruiser is fully equipped and ready for exercises and we hope it will perform successfully,” said Aleksandr Klyotskov, Black Sea Fleet Commander.

The Moskva will drop anchor in crowded sea and close-by will be another dominant naval power – the U.S. Sixth Fleet.
But the Moskva won’t be there for long, next stop is the Atlantic.