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    FROM NORTHERN FLEET COMMAND POST, VLADIMIR PUTIN DIRECTLY CONTACTS VARYAG CRUISER

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    SEVEROMORSK, FEBRUARY 17 (RIA Novosti) - From the command post of the Northern fleet, Russian President Vladimir Putin got established direct TV contact with the Varyag cruiser.

    It leads a group of ships of the Pacific fleet, which visited South Korea to honor the legendary Varyag warship that died there 100 years ago.

    The fleet commander, Viktor Fedorov reported to Putin from the cruiser.

    The visit has been a success, Fedorov said.

    "We have paid a tribute to the crew of the deceased Varyag," Fedorov said. He added that a monument to the Varyag crew was unveiled in the central square of Inchon in South Korea.

    Meetings with South Korean sailors were also held. On the second day of the visit, the Varyag cruiser housed an official reception, attended by the South Korean fleet commanders and military attaches from different countries.

    "The visit by the Russian squadron attracted much attention. We were accorded a warm and hospitable welcome," said the Pacific fleet commander.

    On the third day of the visit, team work at sea was practiced with South Korean sailors, as well as rescue at sea and joint maneuvering. After that, a joint exercise, involving four Russian and three South Korean warships, was held.

    "The exercise got a positive assessment. All missions were practiced positively and our group of ships is now returning to the base," he said.

    Vladimir Putin showed interest in plans of the Pacific fleet.

    This year the Pacific fleet is going to work out matters of combat readiness of the fleet's strike force with the conduct of combat exercises, the commander reported.

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