In this file photo, USS Lassen (DDG 82) sita along the pier at Fleet Activities Sasebo, Japan, during a visit in January. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ramon G. Go)

VLADIVOSTOK, Russia - Guided-missile destroyer USS Lassen (DDG 82) arrived in Vladivostok May 7 for a visit to build ties and foster relationships with the Russian Navy in areas of mutual interest.

"Our goal is to continue building friendship and respect between the people of the United States and Russia while marking an important moment in our shared history," said Cmdr. Scott McClelland, Lassen's commanding officer. "It is also a great opportunity for the crew to make new friends and take part in cultural and recreational activities."

While in Vladivostok, Sailors from Lassen are expected to participate in volunteer events in the area, including visiting children at a local cancer ward, playing games with young people at the Parus Nadezhdy shelter for at-risk youth, meeting and speaking with Russian Veterans and a friendly soccer game with Russian Sailors.

"These events are a good way to interact with people from other countries," said Fire Controlman 1st Class Michael Faas, Lassen's community service events coordinator. "The events with the kids give us a chance to show our care for, and give back to, the people we visit, and being able to visit the Veterans is an honor."

The visit coincides with Victory Day, the Russian celebration of the end of World War II hostilities in Europe. Sailors will also attend Victory Day events and lay a wreath at the Pacific Fleet Battle Fame Memorial.

Additionally, Lassen Sailors will have opportunities to take tours and learn about Vladivostok's history and Russian culture.

"I'm excited to visit Russia," said Faas. "I've been to several countries in the region, but getting a chance to go to Vladivostok is a once in a lifetime opportunity."

The last time Lassen visited Vladivostok was in 2007, when it participated in a naval exercise alongside ships from the Russian Pacific Fleet. It also made a visit in 2003.

"We appreciate the hospitality of the people of Vladivostok and the Russian Navy. As two seagoing Nations, our countries and our Sailors share common experiences and special bonds," McClelland said.

Lassen is part of Destroyer Squadron 15, forward deployed to Yokosuka, Japan, to support security and stability of the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.