A recent announcement from Russia revealed that the country will be swiftly growing its naval fleet by the end of the year.
Russian President Vladimir Putin made the announcement Sunday, and explained the rapid construction process of the new ships, according to Newsweek.
“A good pace of re-equipment and upgrading is a great merit of the people working in our shipbuilding sector, the result of their professionalism and responsibility,” Putin said.
“The Russian Navy will get 26 new warships, boats and vessels, four of them equipped with Kalibr missiles,” he added.
— Newsweek (@Newsweek) July 29, 2018
Putin also said that their naval growth would provide “high combat readiness” and expand the “fighting capacity” of Russia, who “will continue taking measures aimed at strengthening and developing the fleet, making it better equipped.”
In June, Admiral James Foggo, commander of the U.S. Navy in Europe and Africa, told Stars and Stripes that Russia was in the process of expanding its fleet of submarines, which would stand as a challenge to the naval dominance of the U.S.
Foggo also remarked on Russia improved missile capabilities.
“We have seen the Kalibr missile launches from their platforms into targets in Syria. [It] is a very capable weapon system,” he said.
“I think it’s important for us to have the situational awareness of where those platforms are operating at all times,” he added.
Russia recently carried out tests of hypersonic missiles said to be practically “invincible.” Additionally, they planned to conduct tests of nuclear-powered missiles after further developments enabled the missile to have an unlimited range.
The naval expansion announcement came just days before Russia’s Navy Day, which they used to show off their naval vessels and boast their military might.
VIDEO: Russia celebrates Navy Day with a show of strength pic.twitter.com/XiIdQYGnQ1
— AFP news agency (@AFP) July 30, 2018
Earlier in June, Russia also announced the inclusion of a new warship, the Ivan Gren, with the capability of carrying 13 battle tanks or 36 armored personnel carriers, in addition to 300 marines and two attack helicopters, Newsweek reported.
In an apparent response to Russia’s expansion efforts, the U.S. made its own naval expansion plans. The U.S. announced in May that it would revive the 2nd Fleet to be positioned in the North Atlantic Ocean, which had been abandoned seven years before. The fleet was said to counter Russia’s presence in the area.
While the U.S. Navy currently overpowers the Russian navy with more vessels and resources, the rapid expansion of the Russian navy could tip the scales.
However, some caution the news of Russia’s naval expansion. The nation has a history of exaggerating its military might to intimidate current or potential enemies.
The news of naval expansion comes amid Russia’s tense relationships with the U.S., NATO, and Europe. Russia’s efforts in supporting Ukrainian rebels, annexing Crimea, and hacking the 2016 U.S. presidential election have strained its relationship with the U.S., in particular.