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    Varyag becomes San Francisco tourist attraction during Medvedev visit

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    Hundreds of Californians lined up to see and visit Russia's missile cruiser Varyag, which is docked in San Francisco Bay

    Hundreds of Californians lined up to see and visit Russia's missile cruiser Varyag, which is docked in San Francisco Bay.

    The Russian Pacific Fleet's Varyag arrived from Vladivostok in Russia's Far East to California on May 21 on a friendly visit, which is dedicated to the first official visit of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to the United States between June 22 and 24.

    "Hundreds or even thousands of San Francisco residents and city guests have crowded by the ladder of the warship, which is docked near the center of the city. People want to board the warship," a RIA Novosti correspondent said.

    The missile cruiser Varyag led a naval group of the Russian Pacific Fleet to San Francisco. The group, which also includes the Fotiy Krylov salvage tug and the Boris Butoma tanker left the Far Eastern port of Vladivostok for a month-long voyage on June 4.

    The Varyag is a Slava class missile cruiser, designed as a surface strike ship with some anti-air and ASW capability. The sixteen SS-N-12 Sandbox nuclear-capable supersonic anti-ship missiles are mounted in four pairs on either side of the superstructure, giving the ship a distinctive appearance.

    NATO experts had dubbed Russian combat ships of this class "the killer of aircraft carriers," as they can launch 1,000 kg of high-explosives or a tactical nuclear warhead to a range of 300 nautical miles.

    In April 2009, the Varyag led a group of 21 foreign naval vessels participating in a parade to mark the 60th anniversary of China's Navy off the coast of the eastern city of Qingdao.

    SAN FRANCISCO, June 23 (RIA Novosti)

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