* * *
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Shoigu, today I would like to hear your report on the Defence Strategy of the Russian Federation, which the General Staff of the Defence Ministry has prepared for the first time. In addition, strategic exercises have been conducted in the Mediterranean with the use of different services and branches of the Armed Services. Let us also talk about that, as well as the current issues of the Armed Forces.
Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu: Mr President, today we would like to submit to you the Defence Strategy of the Russian Federation. It is a result of team effort by experts from 49 ministries and agencies. All the details have been finalised. The strategy has been agreed by everyone. Most importantly, it takes into consideration the prospects and further development, including the implementation of the state armament programme.
In addition, the strategy takes into account all possible risks. A comprehensive analysis has been conducted of the challenges Russia may face in the coming decades. That is why we believe that the strategy is ready for approval. Naturally, I would like to add that this is not the final, rigid form of the document; it can and will be amended as various events unfold in our country and new threats appear. Most importantly, this is the first document to fully reflect all the national defence programmes: the armament programme, the mobilisation programme and the programmes of all the ministries and agencies covering the entire country.
We hereby request your approval of the national Defence Strategy.
Vladimir Putin: Let’s look at it in more detail.
What about the exercises?
Sergei Shoigu: Mr President, one of the stages of the exercises has been completed. These are extensive exercises involving all of the Navy fleets. The stage that has been completed focused on long-range aviation. Mr Gerasimov will report in greater detail.
Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov: Comrade Commander-in-Chief, we carried out strategic aviation flights in the Black and Baltic seas, as well as in the Norwegian Sea and the Northeast Atlantic Ocean. The flights were carried out with in-flight refuelling, with the accompaniment of fighter aircraft. All the tasks were accomplished and the crews returned to base.
The active stage of the exercises in the Mediterranean and Black seas was scheduled for January 29th and 30th. All the preparatory activities are being currently conducted according to the plan of exercises.
Vladimir Putin: Are there any current issues of the Armed Forces you would like to discuss?
Sergei Shoigu: Mr President, with regard to current issues, we would like to propose a new servicing system for weapons and military equipment. This is primarily due to the fact that we would like to adopt universal, life-cycle contracts, valid for the entire period from production to disposal.
The second reason, perhaps the main one, is that we want to transfer overhauls and repairs to the manufacturers so that the maintenance units are no longer subordinate to the Defence Ministry. Thus, their number will be reduced, and most importantly, equipment will be repaired by those who manufacture it.
In addition, we are about to conclude our negotiations with Russian Technologies (Rostekhnologii) State Corporation, KAMAZ companies and construction firms on the servicing of weapons, military equipment, ships, aircraft, ground and armoured vehicles.
Today we would like to submit this new system for your approval. It has been finalised and agreed with the management of state companies. We believe that it will allow for a more efficient use of the huge funds allocated by the state for national defence.
Vladimir Putin: Good. Let us discuss all these issues.