President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Shoigu, you wanted to report on the Pacific Fleet’s military exercises. Go ahead, please.
Minister of Defence Sergei Shoigu: Yes, Mr President. I wanted to report on the surprise inspection.
We have been carrying out a surprise inspection of the Pacific Fleet since April 14 in accordance with your decision. More than 25,000 troops, 167 warships and logistics vessels are involved, including 12 submarines, as well as 89 planes and helicopters.
The forces and troops taking part in the inspection have been placed on full combat alert and have started performing their military training missions while observing the established restrictions. They conduct firing drills and engage in tactical exercises involving various kinds of forces.
The antisubmarine warfare forces on duty carried out a drill consisting of locating submarines near the Peter the Great Bay and Avachinsky Bay, while the Pacific Fleet’s naval aviation assets have been deployed at operational airfields. Long-range aviation command planes have been relocated to forward airfields.
The surprise inspection is currently in its second stage. A group of vessels have congregated in the off-shore maritime zone and will sail to the southern part of the Sea of Okhotsk to engage in military manoeuvring and underwater surveillance.
The drill also covers practising combat resilience for strategic missile submarines and ensuring that they are in a state of readiness to use their weapons. A tactical air defence exercise is underway, with naval aviation serving as an opposing force.
On April 18, the exercise will enter its final stage, during which naval strike groups will work together with coastal missile divisions to practice missile strikes and perform electronic launches.
The fleet’s forces will also practice searching for and destroying enemy submarines and naval groups by carrying out artillery strikes at targets in the air and at sea. Long-range strategic bombers will fly to the central part of the Pacific Ocean to simulate strikes against the opposing forces’ groups of vessels.
Once the inspection is complete, the fleet’s assets will return to their permanent bases.
This ends my report.
Vladimir Putin: Mr Shoigu, today the priorities for our Armed Forces are quite clear, primarily focusing on the Ukrainian track and everything related to protecting people in Donbass and in other new territories.
Still, the objective to develop the navy, including on the Pacific theatre of operations remains relevant. No one said that this should not be done. For this reason, I am asking you to make sure that these efforts carry on, while paying special attention to developing other fleets, training troops and holding similar events.
Besides, it is clear that some of the fleets’ assets can be used in conflicts elsewhere. I am asking you to keep this in mind. I know that both the Defence Ministry as a whole and its General Staff are working on this.
As for the first stage of the surprise inspection, it was held at the highest level, indeed. I would like to thank everyone who contributed to these efforts.
Sergei Shoigu: Thank you, Mr President. I will pass this message on to everyone concerned.