MOSCOW, January 18 (RIA Novosti) – Russia is planning to construct shipbuilding and ship-repair facilities on the Black Sea coast to ensure proper maintenance of its civilian and military fleets in the region, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said on Friday.
Addressing a conference on the development of Russia’s shipbuilding capability in the Black Sea region, Rogozin said that following the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1990s Russia has lost the bulk of its shipbuilding assets that were primarily located in Ukraine.
Most of the shipbuilding industry is currently concentrated in northern Russia and in Russia’s Far East, which makes the maintenance of the ships based on the Black Sea, especially the warships of the Black Sea Fleet, a difficult task.
“The situation is unbearable,” Rogozin, who oversees the Russian defense industry, said.
“We must determine our priorities in this [Black Sea] region as soon as possible,” Rogozin said, adding that the efforts should be focused on facilities in Novorossiisk, Sochi and other ports along the Russian Black Sea coast.
“It’s important to immediately start the construction of facilities that would ensure proper maintenance of the Black Sea Fleet and the defense of our southern borders,” the deputy prime minister said.
The bulk of the Russian Black Sea Fleet is stationed at the port of Sevastopol in Crimea under a lease agreement with Ukraine. Moscow and Kiev signed the so-called Kharkiv Agreements on April 21, 2010, extending the fleet’s lease on the base for another 25 years after the current lease expires in 2017.
However, Russia desperately needs a reliable network of shipbuilding and ship-repair facilities in the region, as the Black Sea Fleet is expected to receive a total of 15 new frigates and diesel-electric submarines by 2020.