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First Russian warship docks at Israeli port

May 1, 2013 at 3:27 PM

HAIFA, Israel, May 1 (UPI) -- A Russian warship docked at the Israeli city of Haifa Wednesday, the first time a Russian military vessel has stopped at an Israeli port, officials said.

A Russian spokesman said the Azov would remain in the port until Friday to resupply and allow the crew to rest, RIA Novosti reported.

Visitors will be allowed to tour the ship and hear performances by the Black Sea Fleet orchestra.

Capt. Alexei Komarov, who heads the fleet's landing ship unit, said the Azov is part of Russia's Mediterranean task force, due to conduct exercises off the coast of Syria.

He added the force is prepared to evacuate Russian citizens from Syria should the order be given.

Some 5,000 to 100,000 Russian citizens are estimated to live in Syria, the majority of whom are believed to be women married to Syrian men.

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