Russian President Vladimir Putin says his country’s navy can detect any enemy and launch an “unpreventable strike” if necessary, a month after a British warship irked Moscow by sailing near the Crimea peninsula.
“We are capable of detecting any underwater, above-water, [and] airborne enemy and, if required, carry out an unpreventable strike against it,” Putin said on Sunday, speaking at a navy day parade in St Petersburg.
More than 50 ships, boats, and submarines are participating in the parade. The aerial part of the parade will include more than 40 aircraft and helicopters. About 4,000 personnel are also taking part.
“On shortest notice, Russia has taken its decent place among the leading maritime powers, has gone through the colossal way of development from the modest boat of Peter the Great's age to the powerful ocean ships and ballistic atomic missile submarines,” Putin said.
Ships from Iranian, Indian and Pakistani navies also take part in the parade, according to Russia’s Sputnik news agency. The Navy Day is annually celebrated in Russia on the last Sunday of July.
Russia “has acquired long-range and short-range naval aviation, secure coastal defense systems, latest hypersonic precision-guided munition systems that still do not have analogs in the world, which we constantly and successfully perfect,” the Russia president added.
This year, the Russian Navy celebrates its 325th anniversary.
Comments by Putin, who observed the drill at the Main Naval Parade on the Neva River, came a month after the British destroyer HMS Defender breached Russia’s territorial waters off the Crimean coast.
The provocative move prompted a Russian border guard patrol ship to fire warning shots and a Sukhoi-24M bomber to drop bombs ahead of the destroyer. Following the warning maneuvers by Russia, the HMS Defender left the waters.
Crimea declared independence from Ukraine on March 17, 2014, and formally applied to become part of Russia following a referendum, in which 96.8 percent of participants voted in favor of the move, which plunged relations between Moscow and the West into a free fall.
The US, the European Union, and Ukraine claim that Russia has annexed the region. Moscow strongly rejects the allegation.
In the wake of the June incident, in which the British warship HMS Defender ventured three kilometers into Russia's territorial waters, Putin said that Russia could have sunk the British military vessel, without starting World War Three, stressing that the US played a role in the “provocation.”