Russian warships head to the Atlantic, Caribbean : Navy spokesman

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Moscow, Sep 22 (UNI) A Russian naval task force departed today on a tour of duty in the Atlantic Ocean, including joint naval exercises with the Venezuelan Navy in November, Navy spokesman Capt 1st Rank Igor Dygalo said.

''A naval task force from the Northern Fleet, comprising the nuclear-powered missile cruiser Pyotr Velikiy, the large ASW ship Admiral Chabanenko, and support ships, left the Severomorsk base early Monday to conduct training exercises in the Atlantic,'' Dygalo said.

He also said during the tour of duty, the Russian warships would participate in joint naval exercises with the Venezuelan Navy on November 10-14, in line with the 2008 training programme and in order to expand military cooperation with foreign navies.

''During the exercise, ships and naval aircraft will practice coordinated manoeuvering, search-and-rescue, and communications,'' he added.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez had earlier confirmed that Venezuela would hold joint naval exercises with Russian warships in the Caribbean, saying, the Russian Navy would receive a warm welcome in the Latin American country.

Pyotr Velikiy is a Kirov (Orlan) class nuclear-powered guided missile heavy cruiser, which has practically unlimited operational range and carries 20 SS-N-19 Shipwreck surface-to-surface missiles with either nuclear or high-explosive warheads and about 500 surface-to-air missiles of different types, supplemented by a large number of other weaponry.

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