Russia: Pacific Fleet Guard Missile Cruiser Varyag Starts Long-Range Cruise
After termination of large-scale exercise held by Eastern Military District, Pacific Fleet (PF) Guard missile cruiser Varyag sailed off Kamchatka to start a long-range cruise. The crew is going to pay unofficial visits to Japan, the US, and Canada.
Basic objective of the visits is strengthening of naval cooperation with abovementioned countries and demonstration of the St. Andrew’s Flag in Asian-Pacific region.
Apart from Varyag, the task unit headed by Capt 1 rank Sergei Zhuga includes tanker Irkut and sea-going tug MB-66.
Solemn farewell ceremony was held on board Varyag, off the harbor of Petropavlovsk Kamchatsky. Among participants were Northeast Grouping Commander Rear Admiral Konstantin Maklov, PF Primorsk Flotilla Commander Capt 1 rank Viktor Sokolov, and Kamchatka Governor Vladimir Iliukhin; they wished the crew success in the long-range ocean cruise. Varyag‘s commanding officer Eduard Moskalenko assured the guests that sailors were absolutely ready for the mission. In the end, Vladimir Iliukhin handed over gifts to the crewmen.
At first, PF mariners will call at the port of Maizuru, Japan. Upon termination of the visit, Russian servicemen will hold a search-and-rescue exercise jointly with Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force.
Then the PF task unit will lay a course for Guam Island, the US. Along with their American colleagues, Russian mariners will conduct the Pacific Eagle 2011 exercise off Mariana Islands. This is going to be the second visit of our warships to Guam Island throughout Russia’s recent history. The first one was paid in March 2006 by large ASW ship Marshal Shaposhnikov.
At final stage of the cruise, Russian ships will pay unofficial call at the port of Vancouver, Canada. They are expected to return to PF main naval base Vladivostok early in Dec 2011.
Source: rusnavy, September 22, 2011