A Russian warship entered the Panama Canal on Friday for the first time since World War II, authorities said, after participating in manouvers with the Venezuelan fleet symbolizing Moscow's growing military presence in the region. The official with the Panama Canal Authority said the destroyer "Admiral Chabanenko" reached the Caribbean port city of Colon late on Friday, after taking part earlier this week in the joint naval maneuvers that posed a symbolic challenge to US influence in the region.
The Chabanenko will take several hours to sail through the 77-kilometre long canal before reaching the former US naval base of Rodman, on the Pacific Ocean side of Panama, where it will stay at anchor for five days. It was the first time a Russian warship entered the canal since 1944, when the waterway was under US control and Russia and the United States were allied in the anti-Nazi coalition. *AFP