Russian ships leave Libya, head west

Oct. 13, 2008 at 9:41 AM
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TRIPOLI, Libya, Oct. 13 (UPI) -- Russian warships are leaving the Libyan capital after a three-day official visit and are steaming to the Caribbean, military officials say.

The task force from Russia's Northern Fleet is led by the nuclear-powered missile cruiser Pyotr Veliky. The ships left a naval base in northern Russia Sept. 22, arrived in Tripoli Saturday and are now heading to the Caribbean to conduct joint exercises with Venezuela, RIA Novosti reported.

"After training at sea and some more visits to other foreign ports, the Russian Northern Fleet warships will head for the Caribbean to hold exercises in November with Venezuela's navy," a Russian military spokesman said.

One of the ships, the Neustrashimy (Fearless) missile frigate from Russia's Baltic Fleet, will go separately to Somalia. Somali Ambassador to Russia Mohamed Handule said President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed has authorized Russia's military to fight pirates both off Somalia's coast and on land, the news agency reported.

Somali pirates have hijacked a Ukrainian ship, the MV Faina, which was carrying dozens of tanks and other heavy weaponry.

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