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After a stop in Cuba, 2 Russian ships dock in Venezuelan port as part of ‘show the flag’ exercises

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CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Two Russian naval ships docked Tuesday in the Venezuelan port of La Guaira after exercises in the Atlantic Ocean that Moscow said were to “show the flag” in remote, important regions, and an initial stopover in Cuba.

The frigate Admiral Gorshkov and the oil tanker Akademik Pashin are part of Russia’s Northern Fleet, which since May 17 has been carrying out tasks that include “guaranteeing the Russian naval presence” in “remote areas of the oceans,” Russian news agency Tass cited Russia’s Ministry of Defense as saying.

The stopover was to last several days and highlight the close ties between Moscow and Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro’s government.

Like his predecessor, the late President Hugo Chávez, Maduro has forged a close relationship with Russia. The visit comes before Maduro seeks reelection in July 28 elections.

Venezuelan authorities have not reported the arrival of the Russian vessels, which could barely be seen from afar docked at La Guaira, but Associated Press journalists saw their crewmembers in the city’s historic center.

In mid-June, the Admiral Gosrhkov and the tanker were among the Russian vessels that docked in Havana, Cuba.

The other vessels present at that stop included a nuclear-powered submarine, and they stayed docked there for five days following drills in the Atlantic Ocean. The exercise was seen by some as a show of strength by Moscow against the backdrop of tensions as U.S. and other Western nations support Kyiv in Russia’s war on Ukraine.

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