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Despite Putin's bravado, Russian navy lags behind

Video Credit: Reuters Studio - Duration: 02:25s - Published < > Embed
Despite Putin's bravado, Russian navy lags behind

Despite Putin's bravado, Russian navy lags behind

President Vladimir Putin calls improving the Russian navy's combat capabilities a priority, but the unfinished husks of three guided-missile frigates that have languished for three years at a Baltic shipyard show that is easier said than done.

Lauren Anthony reports.

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Despite Putin's bravado, Russian navy lags behind

President Vladimir Putin doesn't miss an opportunity to boast about Russia's impressive military -- and he says that improving the navy's combat capabilities is a top priority.

But that appears to be easier said than done.

This guided-missile frigate is already on the water -- but there are three that have been sat unfinished at a Baltic shipyard for three years.

Reuters' Andrew Osbourn in Moscow, says Russia has plenty of money -- but it's not on tap to reverse years of post-Soviet decline as fast as it would like.

SOUNDBITE (English) ANDREW OSBOURN, DEPUTY BUREAU CHIEF, MOSCOW, SAYING: "The issue for Russia is that that money is earmarked for other purposes, not for its military.

In essence, it is an insurance fund -- an insurance fund against further sanctions from the West on the one hand and on the other hand, it is earmarked to spend trillions -- trillions of rubles on raising the living standards of ordinary Russians." Russia's military prowess is undeniable but it's short on modern factories and skilled labor, and sanctions imposed by Ukraine in 2014 after Russia annexed Crimea, prompted Kiev to cut off sales for the engines Russia needs to propel its unfinished ships.

With that and other sanctions, Russia can't make their own replacements fast enough.

SOUNDBITE (English) ANDREW OSBOURN, DEPUTY BUREAU CHIEF, MOSCOW, SAYING: " They have a lot of equipment, a lot of very good equipment, and they are better trained than they were several years ago.

(CUT) Red Square is if you like a shop window, but the reality is very different.

Many of the tanks, for example, and even the planes which are displayed on Red Square are actually prototypes, they have not been serially produced -- produced in large numbers, deployed in large numbers." Western experts say Russia has long projected itself as a fierce military competitor, but that in reality, Moscow is militarily lagging behind other giants.

SOUNDBITE (English) ANDREW OSBOURN, DEPUTY BUREAU CHIEF, MOSCOW, SAYING: "Really what it shows is that the image that Russia is projecting to the world of its military and its ability to project conventional military force across the world -- frankly that image is probably quite exaggerated.

Russia often likes to compare itself to China -- but again all of this shows that compared to China, which is modernizing its armed forces and in particular its navy, at a huge pace, a huge rate, Russia, yes Russia is getting there but it's getting there with big problems, it's a slow process and it's a troubled process and everything is simply not quite as it seems."




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