Support The Moscow Times!

Russia Says Crimean Military Buildup Completed

A serviceman carries ammunition next to Sukhoi Su-25 jet fighters.

Russia has restored its forces in Crimea to full strength and intends to use its presence there to spearhead Russian interests into the Mediterranean Sea, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu was quoted as saying by news agency RIA Novosti on Monday.

Shoigu said that President Vladimir Putin ordered the deployment of a "self-sufficient interdepartmental force" tasked with defending Russian national security in and around Crimea last year.

"This goal was completed by the end of 2014," Shoigu said during a meeting of Russian defense officials on Monday.

Shoigu added that the Black Sea fleet, stationed in Crimea's Sevastopol, will be used to extend Russia's presence in "long-range sea zones."  

Ships from the Black Sea fleet, as well as vessels from the Northern and Baltic fleets, maintained a permanent presence in the Mediterranean Sea last year, Shoigu said.

The Soviet Union maintained a permanent presence in the Mediterranean for most of the Cold War, but with the fall of the Soviet Union most of its naval forces were stuck in port with no money to operate or maintain them.

Another major area of concern for the Crimean forces, Shoigu said, is the continued development of Russian air force units stationed there.

The Defense Ministry is overhauling existing bases and building new barracks and other infrastructure to support the deployment of more active duty air defense troops, RIA reported.

… we have a small favor to ask. As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just $2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.

Once
Monthly
Annual
Continue
paiment methods
Not ready to support today?
Remind me later.

Read more