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Russia to send more warships to battle Somali pirates: report

Russia will send more warships to patrol the waters near Somalia to battle the growing problem of piracy, the top commander of the Russian navy was quoted as saying.

world Updated: Nov 20, 2008 14:59 IST

Russia will send more warships to patrol the waters near Somalia to battle the growing problem of piracy, the top commander of the Russian navy was quoted as saying on Thursday by RIA Novosti news agency.

"After the Neustrashimy (Fearless), ships from other fleets of the Russian navy will head to the region," Admiral Vladimir Vysotsky said, referring to a frigate sent to the area in September.

"This is needed because of the situation that has developed in the vicinity of the Horn of Africa and the Gulf of Aden, where Somali pirates have sharply increased their activities," he said, according to RIA Novosti.

Attacks on shipping have become increasingly common in the region, including last weekend's seizure of a Saudi super-tanker carrying two million barrels of crude oil, the largest vessel ever seized by Somali pirates.

The East African nation has no effective government and no navy to police its coastline.

Russia dispatched the Neustrashimy, a ship armed with missiles and carrying a crew of around 200, to the region in September after pirates seized a Ukrainian freighter with tanks and Russian sailors on board.

Moscow has also sought to boost its worldwide naval presence in recent months, with Russian warships set to take part in joint exercises with the Venezuelan navy in the Caribbean Sea next week.