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Strong Black Sea Fleet helps Russia safeguard interests at distant frontiers — expert

Ukrainian Navy commander stated that since Crimea’s reunification with Russia in 2014, Moscow has largely strengthened the Black Sea Fleet’s combat potential

SEVASTOPOL, November 15. /TASS/. By strengthening its fleet in the Black Sea, Russia ensures its border security as well as provides for a possibility to safeguard its interests at distant sea frontiers, if need be, Rear Admiral (Retired) and Executive Director of the Institute of CIS Countries in Sevastopol Vladimir Solovyov told TASS on Friday.

Ukrainian Navy Commander Igor Voronchenko stated on Thursday that since Crimea’s reunification with Russia in 2014, Moscow "has considerably increased the Black Sea Fleet’s combat potential and concentrated new ships and submarines in the Black Sea," including the Fleet’s substantial reinforcement with ships and submarines armed with Kalibr missile systems, and would continue to beef up its forces.

"Russia is not doing anything unnatural and is just fulfilling the precepts of great Russian commanders. The Black Sea is needed to timely amass forces and advance to distant frontiers to designate Russia’s interests there," Solovoyov said.

It is Black Sea naval bases that Russian sailors depart from for the Mediterranean Sea where they also go on combat duty, he stressed.

"I would like to assure the Ukrainian admiral that we still have few ships [for Black Sea naval bases and for the Mediterranean grouping]. But in the Black Sea, we will be able to cope with the task with the available ships [should an external threat arise]," the expert assured.

New warships armed with Kalibr cruise missiles

Russian Black Sea Fleet Commander Vice-Admiral Igor Osipov said at the Army 2019 international arms show that the Fleet expected to get new naval hardware and weapons presented at the forum. Specifically, the Black Sea Fleet expects to soon get the missile corvette Ingushetia armed with Kalibr cruise missiles.

"The Ingushetia is now undergoing planned shipbuilders’ sea trials. The trials are proceeding smoothly. After they are over, the ship will be accepted for service in the Black Sea Fleet," a source in the defense industry told TASS on Friday.

Spokesman for the Black Sea Fleet Alexei Rulyov said on Tuesday that the crew of the small missile ship Ingushetia had successfully tested the Kalibr cruise missile system and the artillery weapon during planned shipbuilders’ sea trials.

During the check of the ship’s armament, the crew test-fired a Kalibr missile mock-up from the missile system’s silo and also delivered verification artillery fire against notional naval and coastal targets, the spokesman informed.

"The test results have not revealed any drawbacks in the operation of the ship’s armament," the spokesman stressed.

Earlier, the ship’s crew checked the reliability of the vessel’s propulsion unit, the steering system, auxiliary mechanisms, communications and navigation equipment and other shipborne systems and armament. The sailors together with the shipbuilders also assessed the ship’s seagoing performance, its controllability and stability, propulsion qualities and inertial properties.

The small missile ship Ingushetia has been built for the Black Sea Fleet and is the eighth Project 21631 ‘Buyan-M’ vessel. The new warship was floated out in June 2019.

Project 21631 Buyan-M-class small missile ships are outfitted with the latest artillery, missile, anti-saboteur, air defense and radio-technical armament, including the most advanced Kalibr-NK precision missile system designated to strike naval and coastal targets. Buyan-M warships are designated to defend and protect the state’s economic zone.