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Tuesday, September 23, 2014, 22:48

Russia to deploy missile submarines in Black Sea port by 2016

By Xinhua

MOSCOW - The Russian Navy will deploy submarines armed with middle-range missiles in the Black Sea port of Novorossiisk by late 2016, Commander of the Black Sea Fleet Alexander Vitko said Tuesday.

"Following Crimea's reunification with Russia, the importance of the naval base did not decrease due to permanent presence of the NATO warships in the Black Sea," Vitko told President Vladimir Putin as the president visited Novorossiisk for a meeting on the modernization of the port's facilities.

The Navy plans to use Novorossisk as a backup base for the Black Sea Fleet's operations. The fleet's principal base is Crimea's Sevastopol, which returned to Russian jurisdiction in mid-March.

By the end of 2016, the Novorossiisk base will finish its construction and be home to seven submarines armed with middle-range cruise missiles of over 1,500 km, the Interfax news agency quoted Vitko as saying.

"More than 80 ships are to join the Black Sea Fleet by 2020, which will have a total of 206 ships till then," Vitko said.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu promised in May an investment of more than 86 billion rubles (about $2.55 billion) in the Black Sea Fleet up to 2020.

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