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Russia to have most powerful Navy in 10 years

Russian Naval ships take part in the Navy Day '09 celebration. A File Photo.

KALININGRAD (BNS): President Dmitry Medvedev has announced that a powerful Russian navy would be re-established in the next ten years.

“We are facing the most large-scale task - to re-establish the Navy, as a significant number of our ships - both surface and submarine - are serving their last years now,” Medvedev said at a meeting with military personnel who took part in the Zapad (West) 2009 large-scale military exercises.

“This does not mean they can't operate, but nevertheless new ships should be put into operation. And we have a stock of submarines and ships,” Ria Novosti quoting the president said.

“I am convinced we will be able to re-establish our Navy in the next decade at levels that our state will require. And we need a strong navy,” he added.

About 12,500 service personnel took part in the drills with up to 200 items of military equipment and hardware. Russia and Belarus jointly hosted the exercise which began on September 18.

The service personnel presented Medvedev, who is Supreme Commander-in-Chief, with a striped sailor vest, a marine beret and a mockup of a battleship that took part in the manoeuvres, while the president presented them with watches.

The ex-Soviet neighbours Russia and Belarus had decided in the late 1990s to form a union state in a bid to achieve greater political, economic and military integration, but the project has largely existed on paper.

The exercise among other things rehearses interoperability within the framework of the Belarusian-Russian integrated air defence system, which the two countries agreed to establish recently.

Russia is represented by the Moscow Military District units, Ground Forces, Air Force, Air Defense Forces, Airborne Troops and Baltic Fleet naval task forces, and Belarus by operational command units, Interior Ministry, Emergencies Ministry and State Security Committee troops, according to the report.

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