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Top Black Sea Fleet officer says Crimea is effectively protected

April 09, 2015, 16:18 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Crimea's security is in safe hands, necessary infrastructure is being created for the stationing of military units, deployment of new ships and submarines, the Russian Black Sea Fleet commander says

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Russian Black Sea Fleet ships

Russian Black Sea Fleet ships

© ITAR-TASS/Alexey Pavlishak

MOSCOW, April 9. /TASS/. Crimea is effectively protected, and the grouping of troops deployed on the peninsula can perform all missions assigned, the deputy commander of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, Yury Petrov, reported to President Vladimir Putin on Thursday.

"Security of the Russian Crimea is in safe hands, necessary infrastructure is being created for the stationing of military units, deployment of new ships and submarines," he said.

"Troops and forces are actively equipped with state-of-the-art arms and military hardware. Two new submarines will become part of constant combat readiness forces of the Black Sea Fleet already by the end of this year," Petrov added.

At the end of 2014, Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu announced creation of a self-reliant grouping of troops in Crimea. Later, Russian president’s envoy to the Crimean Federal District Oleg Belaventsev said the peninsula had turned into "an unassailable fortress".

Petrov said quoting naval officers that a lot is being done at the present to strengthen Russia’s naval power. "Town-planning programs are being implemented, and constant deployment of our combat ships to critical zones of the World ocean has been insured," said Petrov.

NATO fears Crimea’s increased defense capability

The four-star US General Philip Breedlove, NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe, is concerned with Russian efforts to strengthen the defense capability of Russia’s Crimean peninsula. At his recent meeting with journalists, General Breedlove said that NATO had noticed significant changes in the deployment of weapons in Crimea. Russian anti-aircraft systems are controlling approximately half of the Black Sea while "surface to surface" missiles are covering its area completely. These anti-aircraft systems, Breedlove said, have turned Crimea into a strong bridgehead ensuring the projection of force in the region.

Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu has openly said that the aggravation of the Ukraine crisis and growing foreign military presence off Russian borders have impelled Russia to introduce some changes in the work of the command of the Southern Military District, which comprises Crimea. That is why the deployment of a full-fledged and self-sufficient group of troops in the Crimean direction has become a priority task for the Russian military leadership

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