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Russia: February 6, 2001
   

Russia has sent the Udaloy-class destroyers Admiral Vinogradov and Admiral Panteleyev on a show the flag cruise to Vietnam and India. The move is key for several reasons:

1. It is the first extended deployment by the Pacific Fleet since the fall of the USSR.

2. It is an effort to rebuild relations with Vietnam and regain use of Vietnamese bases.

3. It is a further step in a huge campaign to sell weapons to India.

4. Most significant of all is that the two ships are optimized for anti-submarine warfare at a time when countries in the key shipping region are scrambling to buy advanced modern submarines. This sends a clear signal that Russia will not allow its trade routes to be blocked, and that it will help its friends in the region if another nation uses its new submarines to block commercial shipping.Stephen V Cole