President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues,
Traditionally, in May and November of each year we hold a series of meetings on the Armed Forces’ development.
These meetings with senior officials of the Defence Ministry, other departments, and leading defence industry enterprises, allow us to discuss key aspects of military construction and adjust our plans, if necessary.
Today’s agenda includes a broad range of issues – from increasing the combat potential of the Army and Navy to preserving military parity and a strategic balance of forces in the world.
We see that, regrettably, the world situation has not become more stable in the past few years. It has even deteriorated in some regions. It is far from stable in the Middle East and Afghanistan. The state of affairs on the Korean Peninsula remains somewhat vague. Despite the Minsk Agreements, the armed confrontation in the southeast is not subsiding. NATO continues building up its combat potential near our borders each year. The future of fundamental arms control agreements is hanging in the balance.
Under these conditions, we must see to the steady and balanced development of the Army and the Navy, making them capable of neutralising any potential threat without allowing anyone to push us into an arms race. We must make flexible decisions that will not waste budget funds. Our progress in the past few years shows convincingly that this is exactly how we have learned to work.
What objectives do I consider a priority in this respect?
First, we need to improve combat training while specifically using our experience in Syria. Increasingly complex and unconventional tasks should be practiced during manoeuvres, command and staff exercises and naval campaigns. We must develop the practice of snap inspections of units and continuously monitor the mobilisation readiness of federal and regional government bodies, enterprises in the defence industry and other sectors.
Second, we must continue equipping the Army and Navy with modern weapons and equipment. We will discuss this in detail at a separate meeting. However, I would like to ask the deputy defence ministers and commanders-in-chief of the services and arms to report on how their units are adopting new models of arms and military equipment.
Third, we need to focus on educational work with the personnel. The high moral spirit and patriotism of our soldiers and officers has always been the ethical backbone of our Army.
These traditions must be revived and actively developed. In this context I would like to ask you to present the results of your work on establishing the military-political bodies of the Armed Forces and report on their priorities and goals.
Finally, I suggest discussing our steps in response to the US withdrawal from the INF Treaty.
I would like to emphasise again that we are always ready for dialogue with our American partners on this key issue. We hope that the Americans will approach this issue with full responsibility because their decision to withdraw from this treaty cannot remain unanswered.
Let me recall in this regard that when the US withdrew from the missile defence treaty we said openly and honestly that we will have to take response measures. We did and now Russia has hypersonic weapons that can overcome any missile defence.
We hope that common sense and mutual responsibility will become the foundation for a long-overdue dialogue on the issues of strategic stability and consolidation of the collective security system.
Let’s get to work.