Russia flexes military muscle again as a Superpower: Izvestia

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Moscow, Dec 7: After the resumption of the Soviet-era strategic bombers reconnaissance flights recently, the Russian navy is going to resume its presence in the world oceans, reaffirming its status as a ''Superpower''.

''Experts say this will affirm Russia's status as a Superpower,'' Russian daily Izvestia wrote today, referring to Russian warships which would cruise in the northeastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean from December 2007 to February 2008.

Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said the aim was to ensure naval presence and the safe navigation of Russian vessels.

Four warships, seven vessels of the Northern, Black Sea and Baltic fleets, 47 aircraft and 10 helicopters were to take part in the cruises.

In the 1990s, the Russian navy was plagued by problems, with warships badly in need of repair, and no new ones being built, and no cruises planned.

''The situation is changing now, although slowly. Only one frigate is being built, and there are no plans for building destroyers, not to mention aircraft carriers. The bulk of funds have been invested in the Project 955 Borei new-generation of nuclear submarines,'' the paper said.

''The resumption of patrols in outlying regions of the world's oceans is mainly a political decision.'' Any state willing to protect its interests in the world should have the means, primarily the navy, to project its might,'' it said quoting Moscow-based Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies director, Ruslan Pukhov.

Mr Pukkhov said the political claims to a presence in the world's oceans could boost the modernisation of the country's navy.

''Nearly all allocations are currently channeled into sea-based nuclear deterrence forces,'' he said, adding, ''Russia must start building new-generation destroyers and frigates, and ponder the construction of an aircraft-carrier.''

UNI

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