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    GENERAL STAFF PRAISES PYOTR VELIKY SHIPBOARD MISSILE SHOOTING AT BALLISTIC TARGETS

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    SEVEROMORSK, FEBRUARY 17 (RIA Novosti) - General Staff chief Anatoly Kvashnin has praised the first Pyotr Veliky shipboard missile shooting at ballistic targets.

    As Vladimir Putin conducted a session at the Northern Fleet's control center, with the participation of Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov and Navy Commander-in-Chief Vladimir Kuroyedov, Anatoly Kvashnin used a video link-up from Moscow to report to the supreme commander about the exercises.

    The task of linking anti-aircraft defense and anti-missile defense was set for the first time, said Kvashnin, adding that the performance met highest standards.

    The exercises that have been on for a week, were staged for strategic purposes, said Kvashnin.

    Under the scenario, an imitation enemy embarked on armed hostilities at midday Moscow Time on February 17 with the purpose of undermining Russia's defense potential, damaging governance and overtaking superiority in the air.

    The exercises have been staged to train troops control, the transfer of the armed forces into the lines of military activities and practical matters of anti-air and anti-missile defense.

    It was for the first time that missiles were shot at ballistic targets from aboard the Pyotr Veliky. "This event was a success," said Kvashnin.

    The chief of the general staff also reported that strategic aviation, that is TU-95 bombers, fired two cruise missiles later eliminated by the interceptor MIG-31.

    "As regards the naval part of the exercises, the forces have accomplished their mission," said the chief of the general staff.

    "The exercises are proceeding in normal mode," he added.

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