Russia to send warship through Panama Canal

PANAMA CITY, Panama (AP) -- Russia says it's sending a warship through the Panama Canal for the first time since World War II.

The journey will feature a bit of symbolism: the Russian destroyer will dock at a former U.S. naval base.

Russia appears to be relishing the idea of stopping at what was long a symbol of U.S. global power. The tour appears to be an effort to showcase Russia's growing influence in the region.

U.S. officials have expressed no concern over the visit -- continuing a stance they took when the ship recently held joint exercises with Venezuela's navy.

Authorities in Panama are also treating the visit placidly. It's a sign of how far the country has come since Cold War days when the country was studded with U.S. military bases and the Canal Zone was under U.S. control.

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

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