- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Russia plans to add 80 new warships to its Black Sea fleet by 2020 and expects to have construction on a new naval base near the city of Novorossiysk completed by 2016.

Russian Commander Admiral Alexander Vitko announced the military build-up while speaking to Russian President Vladimir Putin in Novorossiysk on Tuesday.

“Eighty ships and other vessels are expected to arrive before 2020. The Black Sea Fleet will have 206 ships and vessels by 2020,” Adm. Vitko told Mr. Putin, Reuters reported Tuesday.

The admiral’s announcement comes just weeks after Mr. Putin told senior Kremlin officials that Russia would be conducting large-scale weapons purchases for the foreseeable future.

“Military space exploration continues, the issue of the use of non-nuclear strategic weapons is being studied, and so on and so on. […] A lot of threats are emerging. Recently, as you know, there was a decision made to expand NATO forces in Eastern Europe,” Mr. Putin said Sept. 10, The New York Times reported.

Russia plans to spend more than $500 billion on a project to revamp its army and navy by 2020. The project began in 2011.

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