Russia has been expanding its presence in the World Ocean. Western officials believe that Russia's increasing activity at sea comes as a proof of the country's "aggressive foreign policy," whereas Russian experts say that Russia takes measures in response to NATO's actions near Russian borders.
The press service of the Russian Defense Ministry said on New Year's eve that the crews of 70 warships and support vessels of the Russian Navy would celebrate winter holidays when being on long-distance missions. The Daily Telegraph wrote soon afterwards that Russia's presences in the waters around Britain and in the North Atlantic has increased ten times over the past ten years. Officials with the British General Staff assumed that Russian submarines could cut underwater cables on the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean to deprive the West of military and financial ties.
President of the Academy of Geopolitical Problems, Doctor of Historical Sciences, Colonel-General Leonid Ivashov told Pravda.Ru, that the strength of naval groups of the Russian Navy in the World Ocean has grown considerably since the 1990s indeed. Russian warships, the expert said, conduct naval exercises, make long trips, including, to the American continent.
"This activity is required to stave off threats from our borders," the expert said.
Compared to the 1990s, Russia's military doctrine has also changed, Leonid Ivashov added. In 1993, Russia announced that it had neither external enemies nor external threats. Presently, however, Russia admits the existence of external threats. "That is why Russian warships go on various missions in the World Ocean - to target aviation and naval assets on the territory of our potential adversaries," Ivashov said.
Russia's activity near the shores of the British Isles is due to the Syrian campaign: "This is our response to NATO's activity in the Barents Sea and in the Arctic Ocean, where the Americans form Arctic NATO and constantly conduct exercises, test new models of ships and aircraft."
Leonid Ivashov believes that there is no need for Russia to build a naval base in Sudan for the time being. "This was a proposal from the Sudanese side, and we said that we would think about it. First off, Russia needs to find an excuse to be there. If there is a threat coming from that direction, then we will think about it," Ivashov said.
Political scientist, expert of the Center for Security Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Konstantin Blokhin, believes that it is about time Russia should stop reacting to someone else's actions and take measures to prevent threats. "For them, our weakness is an invitation to larger aggression. The entire military-political culture of the United States and the West is based on this assumption," the analyst told Pravda.Ru.
From this point of view, the military base of the Russian Navy in the port of Sudan will help "balance the influence of the United States in this region," Blokhin said. The expert noted that China has been acting in this manner in the East China Sea lately.
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