Small Russian fleet to enter Mediterranean

MOSCOW (AP) -- The Russian navy says four of its ships will sail into the Mediterranean Sunday as part of Moscow's first deployment into the Western Hemisphere since the end of the Cold War.

The Russian navy says the small fleet will include a nuclear-powered missile cruiser.

It's the latest example of Moscow's military assertiveness following its defeat of Georgia in August. The Kremlin is vowing to send its military on regular maneuvers worldwide.

Stops in the Mediterranean are said to include Libya and reportedly Syria. Russian officials say a Syrian port is being renovated to provide a planned permanent presence for the Russian navy.

The small fleet is headed to the Caribbean for joint maneuvers with the Venezuelan navy. Russia has signed billions in weapons contracts with Venezuela since 2005.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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