MOSCOW, April 19. /TASS/. Russia is upgrading its Black Sea forces in the context of NATO’s approaching infrastructures and proportionately to its real defense requirements, Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko told TASS in an interview on Friday.
"It goes without saying that we have been upgrading our forces in view of the fact that NATO’s infrastructures are approaching our shores. All of our efforts are absolutely adequate and proportionate to the real defense security requirements," he said.
Russia keeps a close watch on NATO’s infrastructure projects in Romania and Bulgaria and also attempts by NATO countries to create bases and deploy additional forces there.
"We will respond to all this in accordance with our ideas of what else is to be done to safeguard our defense and security interests," Grushko said. "This will be done. No doubts about that."
Grushko said that the North Atlantic Alliance was now trying to demonize Russia’s military activity on the Black Sea.
"By and large nothing has changed," he said. "The Black Sea Fleet has been there for the past 200 years, including the period when Crimea was Ukrainian. The fleet incorporates the ships, both surface ones and submarines, the Marines, the coastal defense and a very strong air component. In this sense the quality of our military presence on the Black Sea has not changed in any way."
NATO countries in April agreed a package of measures to step up reconnaissance activity and the scale of Black Sea exercises.
The Black Sea Fleet’s commander, Alexander Moiseyev, said that in March the fleet would get 13 different ships. The share of new equipment will grow to 70% by the end of the year.