On 20 June the Russian Slava-class guided-missile cruiser Varyag arrived in San Francisco on a historic visit. The Varyag, flagship of Russia's Pacific Fleet, is the first surface warship from that nation to visit San Francisco since 1863. The voyage coincided with the first official visit of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to the United States the same week. The cruiser departed Vladivostok en route to the United States on 4 June along with the replenishment oiler Boris Butoma and the salvage tug Fotiy Krylov. Displacing more than 11,000 tons fully loaded, the 186-meter guided-missile cruiser was commissioned in late 1989, just after the fall of the Berlin Wall. She is equipped with 64 vertically launched SA-N-6 surface-to-air missiles that can be fired from rotary launchers, and she also carries 16 SS-N-12 "Sandbox" long-range antiship missiles as well as a number of other weapons. The Varyag appeared to be in pristine condition as she hosted numerous dignitaries, members of the public, and Sailors from the cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG-52), which had arrived in the city for a port visit along with the Russian warship.
By Eric Wertheim