Putin ready to help Caspian states

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ASTRAKHAN REGION, July 14 (RIA Novosti) - President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that Russia was ready to help Caspian states resolve common problems. "We should help our colleagues resolve common problems," Putin said on board the Caspian flotilla's flagship, the Tatarstan. "It would be correct if we used our capabilities for this purpose." The president was responding to a statement of Vice Admiral Yury Startsev, the Caspian flotilla commander, who said that the other Caspian states except Iran (Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan) did not have ships like the Tatarstan.

The president and the governor of the Astrakhan region inspected the flagship, which was launched in 2003.

Startsev said the flagship had artillery and missile weapons and it could sail for a 1,500 miles at a time.

He added that the Tatarstan would start testing a Uran ship-borne missile system soon.

Putin wished the Tatarstan crew good luck and success.

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