On Navy Day, Putin says US ‘strategy to dominate world seas’ poses main threat to Russia

President Vladimir Putin signed a new naval doctrine on Sunday, portraying the United States as Russia’s main rival and setting out Russia’s global maritime ambitions in key areas such as the Arctic and Black Sea. Speaking on the occasion of Russia’s Navy Day in Saint Petersburg, the former imperial capital founded by Tsar Peter the Great, Putin praised Peter for building Russia into a great maritime power and enhancing the Russian state’s global standing.

After inspecting the fleet, Putin gave a brief speech in which he promised to deploy what he called Russia’s unique Zirkon hypersonic cruise missile, warning that Russia had the military power to defeat any potential aggression. Is. Shortly before the speech, he signed a new 55-page naval doctrine, which sets out the broad strategic objectives of Russia’s navy, including its ambitions as a “great maritime power” that are spread all over the world.

According to the doctrine, the biggest threat to Russia is the “strategic policy of the United States to dominate the world’s oceans” and the NATO military alliance moving closer to Russia’s borders. Russia can best use its military power to address the situation in the world’s oceans if other soft powers, such as diplomatic and economic tools, are exhausted, the theory says, recognizing that Russia has a global presence. But there are not enough naval bases.

In theory, Russia’s priority was to develop strategic and naval cooperation with India, as well as broader cooperation with Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and other states in the region. “Guided by this doctrine, the Russian Federation will firmly and resolutely defend its national interests in the seas of the world, and having sufficient naval power will guarantee their security and safety,” the document said.

Putin’s speech did not mention the Ukraine conflict, but the military doctrine envisages a “comprehensive strengthening of Russia’s geopolitical position” in the Black Sea and Azov.

Relations between Russia and the West have been deeply strained in the five months since the conflict in Ukraine.

The doctrine also designates the Arctic Ocean, which the United States has repeatedly said Russia is seeking to militarize, as an area of ​​particular importance to Russia.

Russia’s extensive 37,650 km coastline, stretching from the Sea of ​​Japan to the White Sea, also includes the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea.

Putin said deliveries of the Zirkon hypersonic cruise missiles to the Admiral Gorshkov frigate would begin within months. He said that the location of their deployment will depend on Russian interests. “The important thing here is the capability of the Russian Navy … it is able to respond with lightning speed to all those who decide to violate our sovereignty and independence.”

Hypersonic weapons can travel at up to nine times the speed of sound, and Russia has launched previous tests of Zircon from warships and submarines over the past year.

In Crimea, Sevastopol Governor Mikhail Razauzhaev said Ukrainian forces attacked the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet in the Russian-held port city on Sunday morning, injuring five crew members.

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