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Cubans line up to visit Russian warships in Havana

22.12.2008 Source: en.rian.ru

Cubans waited in long lines to step on board the Russian destroyer Admiral Chabanenko, which sailed into Havana Bay on Friday, a RIA Novosti correspondent reported.

Three ships from Russia's Northern Fleet arrived in Havana Bay on Friday as part of the Russian Navy's first visit to Cuba since the Cold War. The Admiral Chabenenko is being escorted by two supply ships, the Ivan Bubnov and the SB-406. The ships will be in port until December 23.

On Sunday, the Admiral Chabenenko was opened to the public for excursions. Old and young alike waited for hours in line to get on board the destroyer and talk to the Russian sailors. Whole families came to the port to visit the ships and take photographs.

Cubans were not the only ones to visit the ships as Havana has a large number of Russian expats living in the capital.

Groups of Russian sailors also got the chance to go ashore to see the sights and walk through Old Havana and visit the capital's museums.

The visit to Cuba completes a Caribbean tour by Russian battleships, which included stops in Venezuela, Panama and Nicaragua.

Russia announced last year that its Navy had resumed, and would continue, to build up a constant presence throughout the world.

Meanwhile, another Northern Fleet task force started a visit to Lisbon on Friday. After the visit, which will last until Monday, the group will sail through the Strait of Gibraltar, visit several ports in the Mediterranean, and take part in joint exercises with Russia's Black Sea Fleet.

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