Putin called the United States the main threat to Russia after the signing of the new naval doctrine

Putin called the United States the main threat to Russia after the signing of the new naval doctrine

Russian President Vladimir Putin (center) stands next to Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu (left) and Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Navy Admiral Nikolai Evmenov (right) during the main naval parade dedicated to Russian Navy Day. in St. Petersburg on July 31.ALEXEY DANICHEV/AFP/Getty Images

President Vladimir Putin on Sunday signed a new naval doctrine that names the United States as Russia’s main rival and outlines Russia’s global maritime ambitions in critical areas such as the Arctic and the Black Sea.

Speaking on Russian Navy Day in the former imperial capital of St. Petersburg, founded by Tsar Peter the Great, Mr. Putin praised Peter for turning Russia into a great maritime power and strengthening the global authority of the Russian state.

After the Navy inspection, Mr. Putin gave a short speech promising what he touted as Russia’s unique Zirkon hypersonic cruise missiles, warning that Russia has the military clout to defeat any potential aggressor.

Shortly before his speech, he signed a new 55-page naval doctrine that outlines the broad strategic goals of the Russian fleet, including its ambitions as a “great maritime power” that extend to the whole world.

The main threat to Russia, the doctrine says, is the “US strategic policy of dominating the oceans” and the approach of the NATO military alliance to the borders of Russia.

Russia can use its military power in accordance with the situation in the oceans if other “soft powers” such as diplomatic and economic tools are exhausted, the doctrine says, recognizing that Russia does not have enough naval bases around the world.

According to the doctrine, Russia’s priority was the development of strategic and naval cooperation with India, as well as wider 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 World Ocean, and, having sufficient sea power, will guarantee their safety and protection,” the document says.

Mr. Putin’s speech did not mention the conflict in Ukraine, but military doctrine calls for “an all-round strengthening of Russia’s geopolitical positions” in the Black and Azov Seas.

Relations between Russia and the West have deteriorated over the five months of the Ukrainian conflict.

The doctrine also defines the Arctic Ocean, which the United States has repeatedly said Russia is trying to militarize, as a zone of special importance to Russia.

Russia’s extensive 37,650 km (23,400 mi) coastline, which stretches from the Sea of ​​Japan to the White Sea, also includes the Black and Caspian Seas.

Putin said that the delivery of Zirkon hypersonic cruise missiles to the Admiral Gorshkov frigate would begin in the coming months. According to him, the place of their deployment will depend on the interests of Russia.

“The main thing here is the capabilities of the Russian navy… It is able to respond with lightning speed to anyone who decides to encroach on our sovereignty and freedom.”

Hypersonic weapons can travel nine times the speed of sound, and last year Russia already conducted test launches of Zircon from warships and submarines.

In Crimea, Sevastopol Governor Mikhail Razvozhayev said Ukrainian troops struck the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet in the Russian-held port city early Sunday morning, injuring five employees.

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