NOVOROSSIYSK, September 23. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia’s Black Sea port of Novorossiysk will accommodate submarines carrying missiles with a range of more than 1,500 kilometres, Black Sea Fleet commander Aleksandr Vitko has said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Novorossiysk earlier on Tuesday to hold a conference on the port’s future. Vitko briefed the commander-in-chief on plans for building a Black Sea Fleet base in Novorossiysk.
He explained that the concentration of all ships at one base may bring about a situation that was observed in Sevastopol in February and March.
Vitko recalled that Novorossiysk is a crucial hub for transiting military cargoes to Crimea and Syria.
“The submarines to be based there have long-range cruise missiles on board. Besides, in Novorossiysk the secrecy of a submarine leaving port on a mission is far easier to maintain that in Sevastopol,” Vitko said.
The president asked what the range of submarine-based cruise missiles was.
“More than fifteen hundred kilometres,” Vitko said.
He also briefed Putin on the special features of building a submarine base, adding that if such a project were to be implemented in Sevastopol, there would be no chances of developing the existing port.
He recalled that at the moment the Black Sea Fleet had 173 combat ships and support vessels.
“More than 80 ships are to enter duty by 2020, while some will approach the end of their lifecycle. By 2020 the Black Sea Fleet will have 206 ships,” Vitko said.
At present the Novorossiysk base accommodates 51 ships, and by 2020 there will be 61 of them.
Putin asked when the construction of the Novorossiysk a naval base would be finalized.
“Everything will be finished at the end of 2016,” Vitko said.