Russian missile cruiser to return to Sevastopol base

11:03, 10 September 2008
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Following its peacekeeping mission near Abkhazia

The missile cruiser Moskva, the flagship of Russia`s Black Sea Fleet, will return to its base in Sevastopol later on Wednesday following its peacekeeping mission near Abkhazia, a fleet source said, according to RIA Novosti.

A group of Russian warships led by the Moskva arrived at the Sukhumi port at the invitation of the Abkhaz president on August 27, following the conflict between Russia and Georgia over South Ossetia.

"The missile cruiser Moskva has left the port of Novorossiisk and will return to Sevastopol on Wednesday morning," the source said.

After Russia recognized the independence of the Georgian breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Abkhaz President Sergei Bagapsh suggested that Russia`s Black Sea Fleet could deploy its warships in Abkhazia.

The Sevastopol base was a focus of tensions between Ukraine and Russia during the recent Georgia conflict, with Kyiv threatening to refuse to allow Russian Black Sea Fleet ships to return to the base.

Russia has repeatedly said that it has no plans to withdraw its Black Sea Fleet from the naval base in Sevastopol, Ukraine, until the bilateral agreement on the base`s lease expires in 2017.

RIA Novosti

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