The Russian Navy can detect any enemy and launch a “lethal strike “if needed, President Vladimir Putin said on Sunday, a month after a UK warship angered Moscow by passing the Crimean Peninsula.
“We are capable of detecting any underwater, above-water, airborne enemy and, if required, carry out a lethal strike against it,” Putin said.
Putin, who is also the supreme commander in chief of the Russian Armed Forces, made the remarks as he reviewed the main naval parade on the Neva River in St. Petersburg on Russia’s Navy Day.
The Russian Navy this year celebrated its 325th anniversary. The navy parade was dropped in 1980 but then reinstated by Putin in 2003 on the last Sunday of July.
The parade formation on the Neva River included 18 combat ships and vessels, including anti-saboteur boats, amphibious assault boats, minesweepers, anti-mine ships, missile-equipped corvettes and two Mangust-class high-speed patrol boats.
The main navy parade in Kronshtadt, a port city 30 kilometers west of St. Petersburg, involved over 50 combat ships and vessels of various kinds, including submarines and windjammers.
Some 4,000 personnel participated in the city’s parade, and about 50 aircraft took part in a flyover for the event.
The parades were held this year without spectators because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Russian navy today has everything it needs to guarantee the protection of our country and our national interests,” Putin said.
The parades were held a day after Russian military officials announced tests of advanced new weapons, some of which come from an arsenal Putin has described as “invincible”.
According to Putin, Russia had secured its place among the world’s leading naval powers, including by developing “the latest hypersonic precision weapons still unrivaled in the world”.
Putin’s assessment follows the incident in the Black Sea in late June when Russia said it had fired warning shots and dropped bombs in the path of a British warship to chase it out of Russian waters off Crimea.
Britain rejected Russia’s account of the incident, saying it believed any shots fired were a pre-announced Russian “gunnery exercise”, and that no bombs had been dropped.
Putin said last month that Russia could have sunk the British warship HMS Defender, which it accused of illegally entering “its territorial waters”, and said the United States played a role in the “provocation”.