MOSCOW (AP) -- President Vladimir Putin said the Russian navy will get 40 new ships and vessels this year, as he attended a naval parade in St. Petersburg on Sunday marking the Navy Day in Russia.
The parade in St. Petersburg and the nearby town of Kronshtadt featured 46 ships and vessels and over 4,000 troops and aimed to “demonstrate the growing power of our navy,” Putin said Friday.
He said 40 ships and vessels of different classes will enter service this year, and that the Russian navy will be equipped with hypersonic weapons to boost its combat capabilities.
Opening the parade, he said that “six more vessels for the far-sea zone were laid down at Russia's three leading shipyards” in the past few days.
The Kremlin has made military modernization its top priority amid tensions with the West that followed Moscow's 2014 annexation of Crimea.
Similar parades marking Russia's Navy Day on Sunday took place in the Far Eastern cities of Vladivostok and Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsk, Sevastopol in the annexed Crimea, the seaport towns of Severomorsk and Baltiysk, Kaspirsk in the south of Russia and the port city of Tartus in Syria.
Earlier this week Putin attended a ceremony of keel-laying of new warships in Crimea and pledged to continue an ambitious program of building new warships, saying that Russia needs a strong navy to defend its interests and “help maintain a strategic balance and global stability.”