On Navy Day, Putin says the US is the main threat to Russia

ST PETERSBURG, Russia, July 31 (Reuters) – President Vladimir Putin on Sunday signed a new naval doctrine that casts the United States as Russia’s main rival and sets out Russia’s global maritime ambitions for crucial areas such as the Arctic and the Deep Sea. Black.

Speaking on Russia’s Navy Day in the former imperial capital of St. Petersburg, founded by Tsar Peter the Great, Putin praised Peter for building Russia into a great maritime power and increasing the world position of the Russian state.

After inspecting the navy, Putin made a brief speech promising what he touted as Russia’s unique Zircon hypersonic cruise missiles, warning that Russia had the military leverage to defeat any potential aggressor.

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Shortly before the speech, he signed a 55-page new naval doctrine, which sets out the broad strategic goals of Russia’s navy, including its ambitions as a “great sea power” spanning the globe.

The main threat to Russia, the doctrine says, is “US strategic policy to dominate the world’s oceans” and the movement of the NATO military alliance closer to Russia’s borders.

Russia can use its military force in a way appropriate to the situation in the world’s oceans in case other soft powers, such as diplomatic and economic tools, are exhausted, the doctrine says, acknowledging that Russia does not have enough naval bases globally.

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, according to the doctrine.

“Guided by this doctrine, the Russian Federation will firmly and resolutely defend its national interests in the world’s oceans, and having sufficient sea power will ensure its safety and security,” the document says.

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

Relations between Russia and the West have experienced increasing tension during the five months of the Ukraine conflict.

The doctrine also establishes 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 vast coastline of 37,650 km (23,400 mi), stretching from the Sea of ​​Japan to the White Sea, also includes the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea.

Putin said delivery of Zircon hypersonic cruise missiles to the Admiral Gorshkov frigate would begin in a few months. The location of his deployment would depend on Russian interests, he said.

“The key here is the capacity of the Russian navy… It is capable of responding with lightning speed to all those who decide to infringe on our sovereignty and freedom.”

Hypersonic weapons can travel at nine times the speed of sound, and Russia has conducted previous test launches of the Zircon from warships and submarines over the past year.

In Crimea, Sevastopol Governor Mikhail Razvozhayev said Ukrainian forces attacked the Russian Black Sea Fleet headquarters in the Russian-held port city on Sunday morning, wounding five staff members. read more

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Edited by Guy Faulconbridge, William Maclean

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