President Vladimir Putin on Thursday oversaw the commissioning of several new warships and a nuclear-powered submarine as he vowed to further strengthen Russia’s navy.
Putin, who has largely avoided public engagements since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, gave the green light for Russian flags to be hoisted on the new vessels via video link.
Among the newly-commissioned vessels were a corvette, a minesweeper and the Generalissimus Suvorov nuclear-powered submarine that is capable of launching ballistic missiles.
Another nuclear submarine, the Emperor Alexander III, was put to sea on Thursday and will be commissioned following trials.
“We will increase the pace and volume of construction of various ships, equip them with the most modern weapons,” the Russian leader said in televised remarks.
“All in all, everything to reliably ensure Russia’s security, the protection of our national interests in the world ocean,” he added.
During his two decades in power, Putin has made strengthening his armed forces a top priority, equipping the navy with new warships and adding hypersonic missiles, described by Putin as “invincible”, to Russia’s arsenal.
However, Russia has faced a series of humiliating setbacks on the ground in Ukraine, which has received weapons from the West.