MOSCOW, May 13 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s Black Sea Fleet will be strengthened with some 30 warships, submarines and auxiliary vessels in the next six years, the head commander of the Russian navy said Tuesday.
“The Black Sea Fleet must have a full complement of naval vessels to be capable of performing all assigned missions,” Adm. Viktor Chirkov said.
“This is not a provocative military buildup. This is something the Black Sea Fleet urgently needs as it has not been receiving new vessels for many years,” the admiral said.
According to the Defense Ministry, among the new vessels being built for the fleet are six Admiral Grigorovich-class frigates and six Varshavyanka-class (Improved Kilo-class) diesel-electric submarines.
Russia’s Black Sea Fleet was founded by a decree of Empress Catherine the Great in 1783.
The main tasks of the Black Sea Fleet are protecting the region’s economy, suppression of illegal activities, ensuring navigation safety, and the implementation of foreign policy actions in economically important areas of the oceans.
Last year, the fleet’s vessels made nine long-distance cruises and visited 37 ports in thirteen countries.
The aircraft and helicopters of the Black Sea Fleet’s naval aviation conducted more than 300 training flights, dropping sonobuoys and conducting exercises with bombs and missiles.