Russia Vows to Strengthen Navy to Ward Off NATO

Russian destroyer Vice-Admiral Kulakov

Russia announced plans Tuesday to bolster its navy with more advanced weapons in response to NATO’s vow to halt the Kremlin’s push into Ukraine and feared expansion into eastern Europe.

Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu told a general security meeting that he expected to hear a detailed report from Russia’s navy commander about how this could be achieved efficiently over the coming six years.

“These proposals must ensure that our forces are reequipped with modern weapons and military equipment,” Russian news agencies quoted Shoigu as saying.

The new strategy “must also improve the operational readiness of Russian naval forces in locations posing the greatest strategic threat,” said Shoigu.

“I will not hide that this in large part is linked to events of recent months,” he said in reference to the pro-Russian insurgency convulsing eastern Ukraine.

NATO and the United States have both stepped up air defences of former Soviet satellites that are growing increasingly wary of Russia’s military ambitions and see President Vladimir Putin as a fast-emerging threat.

US President Barack Obama unveiled a $1 billion security plan for eastern Europe during a June visit to Poland that is aimed at helping countries on Russia’s western periphery build more modern armies.

And outgoing NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen expressed concern last week that Putin’s ambitions went “beyond Ukraine” and now covered a Russian-speaking region of ex-Soviet Moldova and two separatist parts of the small Caucasus nation of Georgia — both now closely allied with the European Union.

Related Experts:

Image: Russian destroyer Vice-Admiral Kulakov (photo: Brian Burnell)