In another move by Vladimir Putin to reclaim the former glory of the Soviet Empire, Russia’s Defense Ministry announced plans this week for a massive naval exercise and a significant buildup of its fleet as part of an effort to restore its naval prowess after years of post-Soviet decline.
The multiple naval drills will be held in the Mediterranean and Black seas in late January. The Russian navy’s drills of this scope will be held for the first time over the past few decades.
The naval drills will simulate operations to load service members from land onto amphibious ships. Russian sailors and ships from its Northern, Baltic, Black Sea and Pacific fleets are en route to the exercise sites.
Despite speculation about Russia’s intentions in the Mediterranean, Russia has not indicated it will use its growing naval presence to bolster Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
Russia is undergoing a $659 billion rearmament program through 2020 and has plans to add 18 warships and more than 30 other vessels to its fleet by 2016, including six submarines.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has for years devoted massive sums of money toward rebuilding the military. In all, Russia has pledged to replace 45 percent of its army and navy equipment by 2015.
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