MOSCOW, May 6 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s Black Sea Fleet headquartered in the Crimea region that recently reunified with Russia will be beefed up with a slew of next-generation warships and submarines, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Tuesday.
“This year, our sea bases will host new air defense and marine regiments,” Shoigu said.
“This year, the Black Sea Fleet will get new submarines and next-generation surface ships, and all of this requires our immediate attention,” the minister said during a conference call.
The general underscored that Russia has always “lent all the necessary forces” to the Black Sea Fleet, but Crimea’s accession to Russia required it to amend the fleet’s development plan.
Russia has recently voiced concern over the increasing maritime activity of the US Navy in the Black Sea after the Pentagon dispatched its frigate USS Taylor to the region together with the command ship USS Mount Whitney. The frigate struck ground off Turkey and was stranded longer than the time it was allowed to stay by international agreement in Black Sea waters.
The USS Donald Cook, a destroyer equipped with the Aegis combat system, and the French intelligence warship Dupuy de Lôme entered the Black Sea last month amid the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.
Earlier, NATO used the crisis to justify an expansion of its military forces near Russian borders and bumped up the number of air patrol missions in Eastern Europe.