SEVEROMORSK, March 30 (RIA Novosti)
Russian nuclear cruiser sails on mission in Indian Ocean
The Russian nuclear-powered cruiser Pyotr Veliky (Peter the Great) set sail from its base in Severomorsk on Tuesday on a tour-of-duty in the Indian Ocean, RIA Novosti reported from the board of the ship.
Die russische Nordflotte schickt ihr Flaggschiff „Pjotr Weliki“ auf eine lange Mission im Weltmeer: Der schwere Atomkreuzer ist am 30. März aus Seweromorsk ausgelaufen.
"The ship will conduct maneuvers in the Indian Ocean with ships from the Black Sea Fleet and will dock in ports on the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean," a representative of the Russian navy's Northern Fleet said.
He said that the ship will pass through the Atlantic and the Mediterranean waters and enter the Indian Ocean via the Suez Canal.
Russia announced in 2007 that it was building up its naval presence in the world's oceans. Once one the world's most powerful navies, Russia now has few ships regularly deployed.
In September 2008, Russia was reported to be in talks with Syria about turning Syria's Mediterranean port of Tartus into a permanent Middle East base for Russian warships.
Commander of the Pyotr Veliky, Capt. 2nd Rank Vladimir Minkov said that the port of Tartus is one of the ship's docking points.
Northern Fleet Commander Vice-Admiral Nikolai Maksimov said that the ship is ready to begin its mission and that the ship's tour-of-duty will be not shorter than its previous one, which lasted around six months.
The 2008 tour of Pyotr Veliky in the Mediterranean, Caribbean, South Atlantic and the Indian Oceans was lauded by many in Russia as the country's naval reappearance on a global scale and criticized in the West as an echo of the Cold War.
During the Caribbean leg of the tour, the cruiser held joint naval exercises with Venezuela. It was the first such deployment since the Cold War when Latin America became an ideological battleground between the Soviet Union and the United States.