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Russian naval task force leaves Tripoli

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A naval task force from Russia's Northern Fleet, led by the nuclear-powered missile cruiser Pyotr Veliky, is leaving the Libyan capital, Tripoli, after a three-day official visit, a Navy spokesman said on Monday.
MOSCOW, October 13 (RIA Novosti) - A naval task force from Russia's Northern Fleet, led by the nuclear-powered missile cruiser Pyotr Veliky, is leaving the Libyan capital, Tripoli, after a three-day official visit, a Navy spokesman said on Monday.

The task force, comprising the nuclear-powered missile cruiser Pyotr Velikiy (Peter the Great), the large ASW ship Admiral Chabanenko, and support ships, left a naval base in northern Russia on September 22, and arrived in Tripoli last Saturday.

It was later joined in the Mediterranean by the Neustrashimy (Fearless) missile frigate from Russia's Baltic Fleet.

"The Russian warships are concluding a three-day visit to Tripoli. Having replenished fuel, water and food supplies...the ships will continue training in the Mediterranean," the spokesman said.

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. (Russian warships head to the Caribbean - Image gallery)

The Neustrashimy will go separately to Somalia, where it will ensure the safety of Russian vessels passing through the area against pirate attacks.

Last week, Somali Ambassador to Russia Mohamed Handule said his country's president, Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, had authorized Russia's military to fight pirates both off Somalia's coast and on land.

Pirates are increasingly active in the waters off Somalia, which has no effective government and no navy to police its coastline. The International Maritime Bureau said more than 30 incidents of piracy were registered in the region in 2007. More than 30 attacks have been committed so far this year off the coast of the east African nation.

Somali pirates recently hijacked a Ukrainian ship, MV Faina, carrying at least 33 tanks and other heavy weaponry. Six U.S. warships are currently surrounding the Faina.

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