Russia will beef up its Black Sea fleet this year with new submarines and warships, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu was quoted as saying on Tuesday, following the annexation of the Crimean peninsula.
New air defence and marine infantry units would also be deployed at the fleet’s bases, which include Sevastopol in Crimea.
“New submarines will join the Black Sea fleet, as well as new-generation surface ships, this year. All this requires much attention from us,” Interfax news agency quoted Shoigu as saying. Shoigu said the fleet would receive funding of 86.7 billion rubles ($2.43-billion) by 2020.
Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in March sparked the worst East-West crisis since the Cold War. President Vladimir Putin said last month that Russia’s action over Crimea was partly a response to NATO expansion in Eastern Europe. Russia also feared Ukraine’s new government would cancel a lease allowing the fleet to stay until 2042.
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