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Putin inspects new Intelligence HQ -1

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MOSCOW, November 8 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's president has visited the new headquarters of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Russian General Staff in the country's capital, a RIA Novosti correspondent said Wednesday.

Vladimir Putin arrived by air, landing on one of the two helicopter pads on the roof of the nine-story building in downtown Moscow, which covers tens of thousands of square meters.

Directorate head Valentin Korabelnikov said the president was shown around the floor that will house different departments and agencies of the Main Intelligence Directorate, and the situation center, which is designed to monitor the political and military situation using all various intelligence means, including satellite intelligence.

Commissioned on November 5 to mark Intelligence Day in Russia, it took Spetsstroi - the Defense Ministry's engineering arm - three years to construct the building using cutting-edge construction and information technologies.

The headquarters is equipped with state-of-the-art external and internal security and control systems, and also houses gyms for wrestling, boxing, sports matches and a swimming pool.

At the sports center, intelligence divers demonstrated to the president their skills in disabling underwater mines, underwater combat with the use of communications systems and acting in daytime and night conditions.

The building houses special shooting ranges, which can even be used for firing from grenade launchers. Putin, along with Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov, practiced firing from the 9-mm Makarov pistol widely used in the Russian army. The president also tried the Stechkin high-accuracy semiautomatic pistol.

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