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Russian warships complete joint exercise

Russia's heavy nuclear-powered missile cruiser Pyotr Veliky

MOSCOW (BNS): Russia's heavy nuclear-powered missile cruiser Pyotr Veliky and guided-missile cruiser Moskva have completed joint exercises held in the Indian Ocean.

The exercises included conjunctive navigation, maneuvering by flagship signal, joint use of weapons, air defense exercises and towing a damaged ship. The crews also controlled the transmission of naval helicopter flights from ship to ship, a RIA Novosti report said.

The news agency quoting Captain First Class Sergei Zhuga said the drills were wide ranging and allowed the ship's crews to raise the professional level of their training.

After completing the drills, the crews carried out a traditional farewell ceremony in the South China Sea. The two ships passed each other at a close range and the crews lined up and gave a military greeting.

The Moskva, the flagship of the Black Sea Fleet, left the Ukrainian port of Sevastopol on April 9 for a series of exercises in the Indian Ocean with the Pyotr Veliky of the Northern Fleet.

The two vessels are due to arrive in Russia's Far Eastern port of Vladivostok in June-July to take part in the Vostok-2010 large-scale strategic exercise, the report said.

Russia announced in 2007 that it was building up its naval presence across the world. Foreign port calls by Russian warships have become more frequent.

Pyotr Veliky, Russia's largest and most powerful surface combatant warship has a displacement of between 24,000 and 26,000 tons, and a speed of up to 31 knots (almost 57 km/h). The ship is 251 meters in length and has a crew of more than 700 sailors.

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