This was the first in a series of meetings on the strengthening of Russia’s security and further development and modernisation of the country’s Armed Forces and defence industry.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues,
We are starting a new cycle of our regular meetings in Sochi devoted to the defence industry development and the fulfilment of the state defence order.
You are well aware of the present specifics, which first and foremost lie in the fact that we have to function amid certain financial and budgetary constraints. They certainly affect the defence sector and the Defence Ministry’s spending patterns.
At the same time, and this is something we have repeatedly discussed, our plans must be fulfilled unconditionally. The question is, how? Through optimisation, of course, and through more careful use of the government resources allocated, through focusing on the most important and promising areas of our work, on things it is impossible to do without. This is the kind of optimisation I am talking about.
Let us now discuss the progress of the state armament programme, and the fulfilment of the state defence order in 2016.
We have here the senior officials of the Defence Ministry, of federal agencies and the leading enterprises of the national defence sector. This format, as we have seen on more than one occasion, enables us to quickly find solutions to the problems that arise in the course of our work.
Let me note that the approved plans for the supply of modern weapons and equipment to the armed forces are being implemented, despite the problems I have mentioned. The percentage of modern weapons and equipment in the Army and Navy is growing and will exceed 50 percent by the end of the year.
The yearend targets for the supply of the main types of weapons have been implemented by 70 percent, and by over 85 percent for missiles and ammunition.
The armed forces have received over 5,500 units of weaponry and equipment, including over 60 new and 130 modernised aircraft and helicopters, one multirole submarine, over 60 air defence missile systems, 55 radar stations, and 310 new and 460 modernised tanks and armoured vehicles.
Overall, this year’s target supplies include 5,700 new and 3,800 repaired units of the main types of weapons and equipment. I hope they will be delivered to the armed forces on schedule.
I want to highlight the following. First, we must carry on the good work we have been doing for the past few years, with accurate and coordinated efforts during the development and implementation of defence contracts. It is what the Defence Ministry and all the defence companies must do.
Second, as I have said, we must tighten government control over the effective spending of budgetary funds allocated for the implementation of the defence contracts to the head companies and related enterprises. The implementation of the Federal Law On the State Defence Order has helped us enhance compliance standards. We must continue to improve this system.
I know that there are some problems in this sphere. We discussed them with defence industry representatives. Some issues should be discussed additionally. I suggest that we do this during this series of meetings, today and in the next few days. Right now, I want to say that we must maintain high compliance standards, primarily financial ones.
During our meetings, we have repeatedly discussed and will discuss again Russia’s military operation against terrorists in Syria. Let us ask the Defence Minister to tell us how the Russian group is carrying out its tasks planned for the near future before we start discussing the main issues. Let us ask him to report on how this work is being done now.
Mr Shoigu, go ahead, please.
Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu: Comrade Supreme Commander-in-Chief,
We continue supporting the Syrian armed forces in the fight against terrorism, and in this context we began a large operation on launching massive strikes at the positions of ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra in the provinces of Idlib and Homs. The Admiral Grigorovich frigate is taking part in this operation and launched Kalibr cruise missiles at the targets determined in advance on the basis of reconnaissance data. In addition, Bastion coastal missile systems also attacked targets deep in Syria. For the first time in the history of the Russian Navy, the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier has taken part in combat actions. Today our Su-33 aircraft were launched from its deck.
Before today, we conducted meticulous and thorough reconnaissance on all targets. Based on this information, we determined the main targets: ammunition depots, concentrations of military units, and, for the most part, centres for training illegal armed formations or terrorists, to be more precise. These targets also include plants that manufacture different means for inflicting heavy, not to say massive, damage on the population.
You know that we sent a large group of our radiation, chemical and bacteriological protection troops there to determine what toxic agents are used by terrorists. They used them twice over the past week. In the first case, 27 Syrian army servicemen were taken to hospitals and three were killed. In the second case, 30 people were hospitalised.
Today’s results are absolutely clear and understandable. The main point is that it is clear that this is a well-developed industrial production line. It is these targets that are being attacked today, and these strikes will be continued.
We will keep you updated on the results of today’s airstrikes and operation, which reconnaissance aircraft and drones are monitoring, when we receive the final data, so as to discuss further counterterrorism steps in Syria.
This concludes my report.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you.
Mr Shoigu, I asked you and the General Staff to consider and take a series of measures to provide reliable sea and air protection for our deployment areas in Tartus and Khmeimim. What measures have you taken? What can you point to that would assure us that the order was carried out?
Sergei Shoigu: Mr President, at your instruction, we have done a great deal to organise multi-layered defences for our forces, including air and sea protection.
As you know, we have long had an S-400 air defence system there, and we have recently dispatched an S-300 system to cover the sea area practically all the way to Cyprus. We have also delivered Bastion mobile coastal missile defence systems there, which are covering almost the entire length of the coast and are capable of hitting both sea and land targets.
Vladimir Putin: What is their effective range?
Sergei Shoigu: It is 350 kilometres over sea and almost 450 over land.
Vladimir Putin: I assume that our sea group is safely protected, including by the Bastion systems.
Sergei Shoigu: Yes, including by the Bastions. As you know, one other goal we had was to be able to hit low-flying targets, which is why we have sent Pantsir missile defence systems there. They provide reliable protection.
In addition, we have repaired the Syrian S-200 systems over the past four months. They are now effectively protecting Syrian territory, as well as providing air protection for the eastern flank of our Tartus and Khmeimim bases.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you.
Let us get to work.