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Russian warship carries out computer-assisted missile drills


MOSCOW, January 26 (RIA Novosti) - The guided missile cruiser Moskva, the flagship of Russia's Black Sea Fleet, has conducted computer-simulated missile attack drills in the Mediterranean, the fleet's spokesman said on Monday.

"The designated targets were a naval ship and coastal facilities. All tasks set for the exercise have been accomplished," the spokesman said.

Moskva 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.

The cruiser is on its way for an unofficial visit to the port of Messina in Sicily on January 27-30. The visit is timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Messina earthquake and Russia's participation in international relief efforts.

In addition to the Russian vessel, U.S., British, German, Spanish and Danish warships will take part in events to mark the anniversary.

The Messina earthquake had an estimated magnitude 7.5 on the Richter scale and 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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