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Russian, Italian navies hold exercises in Ionian Sea


SEVASTOPOL, January 30 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's Black Sea Fleet flagship the guided-missile cruiser Moskva and Italy's destroyer the Andrea Doria held one-day drills in the Ionian Sea in the Strait of Messina on Friday, the Black Sea Fleet said.

On Thursday all details of the joint exercises were coordinated on board the Russian cruiser.

"The ships practiced elements of joint maneuvering, signaling, communications and joint actions on detecting surface targets. Ship-based helicopters from the two vessels were used in the exercises," the fleet press service said.

The Russian cruiser's three-day unofficial visit to Messina port that ended today was timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Messina earthquake and Russia's participation in the international relief efforts.

The Messina quake with an estimated magnitude of 7.5 on the Richter scale was followed by a tsunami that struck many coastal cities with 40-foot (12-meter) waves, causing more destruction. The earthquake and tsunami killed two-thirds of the city's then-150,000 population.

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