Russia President Vladimir Putin has cast the United States as their main maritime rival, setting out his country’s global ambitions for areas like the Black Sea and the Arctic.
The newly signed new naval doctrine has highlighted tensions between the two countries.
Speaking on Russia’s Navy Day in the former capital of St. Petersburg, Putin praises the founder, Peter the Great, for making Russia a great sea power and increasing Russia’s global standing.
The Russian leader made a short speech where he promised what he touted as Russia’s unique Zircon hypersonic cruise missiles, warning Russia had the military clout to defeat any potential aggressors.
Putin signed a 5-page naval doctrine shortly before his speech, setting out the strategic aims of Russia’s navy and its ambitions as a “great maritime power.”
According to the doctrine, the main threat to Russia is “the strategic policy of the USA to dominate the world’s oceans” and the movement of the NATO military alliance closer toward Russia’s borders.
The doctrine states Russia could use its military force should other soft powers, such as diplomatic and economic tools, be exhausted.
The priority of Russia is to develop strategic and naval cooperation with India, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and other states, the doctrine says.
“Guided by this doctrine, the Russian Federation will firmly and resolutely defend its national interests in the world’s oceans, and having sufficient maritime power will guarantee their security and protection,” the document said.
There was no mention of the Ukraine conflict in Putin’s speech. Still, according to the military doctrine, the country envisages a “comprehensive strengthening of Russia’s geopolitical position” in the Black and Azov seas.
During the five months of the Ukraine conflict, the tensions between Russia and the West have escalated.
The doctrine also sets out the Arctic Ocean, which the US accused Russia of attempting to militarise.
Russia’s massive 37,650-kilometer (23,400-mile) coastline includes the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea.
Putin stated the delivery of Zircon hypersonic cruise missiles to the Admiral Gorshkov frigate would begin within months.
The location of their deployment would depend on Russian interests, he said.
“The key thing here is the capability of the Russian navy,” Putin said.
“It is able to respond with lightning speed to all who decide to infringe on our sovereignty and freedom.”
Russia has conducted previous hypersonic missile test launches of the Zircon from warships and submarines over the past year.
In Crimea, Sevastopol Gov. Mikhail Razvozhayev said Ukrainian forces struck the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet in the Russian-held port city early on July 31, wounding five members of its staff.