Vladimir Putin: I have just talked with the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy. He reported that the fleet had completed what he thought were very successful exercises a week ago. I would like to thank you. Number one.
Number two. A group of Black Sea and Pacific Fleet ships is currently in the Indian Ocean. Your ships will form the backbone, and as far as I know, your deputy is in command of that group. I would like to know how the preparation went and how you assess it. We haven’t passed through the Suez Canal in 15 years. Exercises involving the Indian Western and Eastern Fleets will be held soon. We have never before taken part in such exercises. The ships, as far as I know, are currently off the coast of Yemen. They are doing well and are preparing for the crucial part of the expedition.
The third issue is the state of the fleet. I hope you have already familiarised yourself with all the problems. I would very much like to know your opinion on the state of the fleet, the problems and the progress of modernisation and how the social issues of the sailors are addressed. As far as I know, people have already moved into the recently built block of flats. You may remember that some time ago Leonid Kuchma [the President of Ukraine] and I discussed plans to build another residential block for the sailors of both fleets. We will return to that topic. These are the topics I would like to discuss today.