Putin views new nuclear submarines, says more to follow

By Reuters - December 12, 2023
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Sailors attend a flag-raising ceremony on the nuclear-powered submarines Emperor Alexander the Third and Krasnoyarsk at the naval base in the northern city of Severodvinsk, Russia, December 11, 2023 (Sputnik/Mikhail Klimentyev/Kremlin via Reuters)

President Vladimir Putin attended a televised flag-raising ceremony on Monday for two nuclear submarines that he said were part of a strategic drive to project Russian naval power.

Putin travelled to the northern city of Severodvinsk to view the vessels, the Krasnoyarsk and Emperor Alexander the Third, at the Sevmash shipbuilding yard.

Putin said both nuclear-powered vessels would soon take up duty in the Pacific, emphasising that they were part of two separate series of submarines that Russia is rolling out.

“We will quantitatively strengthen the combat readiness of the Russian Navy, our naval power in the Arctic, the Far East, the Black Sea, the Baltic Sea, and the Caspian Sea—the most important strategic areas of the world’s oceans,” he said, flanked by officials and naval officers on an outdoor stage with snowflakes fluttering in the air.

The Emperor Alexander the Third is part of Russia’s new Borei (Arctic Wind) class of nuclear submarines, the first new generation it has launched since the Cold War.

Last month the defence ministry said the vessel had successfully tested a nuclear-capable Bulava intercontinental ballistic missile.

The Krasnoyarsk belongs to the Yasen (Ash Tree) class of multi-purpose submarines equipped with long-range, high-precision missiles that Putin said could strike both sea and land targets.

Putin, who last Friday announced he would seek another presidential term in an election due in March, has repeatedly talked up the potential of Russia’s new generation of weapons, particularly its nuclear systems, and their value as a deterrent to the West.

Security analysts say nuclear arms have assumed a greater importance in his thinking and rhetoric since the start of the Ukraine conflict, where his conventional forces are locked in a grinding war of attrition with no end in sight.

(Reporting by Reuters; writing by Mark Trevelyan; Editing by Gareth Jones)