Vladimir Putin’s weak display of naval weaponry at a military parade on Sunday may have revealed the Kremlin’s deep security fears after Moscow was hit by drone strikes.
The Russian President usually jumps at the opportunity to put on a grand display of his military might at annual Navy Day celebrations in St Petersburg.
But this year, a core set of naval equipment appeared to be missing.
Sunday’s parade featured 45 combat ships, gunboats and submarines belonging to the Northern, Pacific, Baltic and Black Sea fleets and about 3,000 troops, according to Russian news agency TASS.
However, a number of nuclear submarines and aviation were absent, suggesting Moscow’s security fears are rising, Newsweek reported.
In fact, it marked “the first time” that a set of nuclear submarines and did not feature at the event since 2017, outlet The Agency reported via Telegram.
The nuclear-powered Yasen-class Severodvinsk cruise missile submarine was indeed on display, but 11 of Russia’s nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines in its arsenal were nowhere to be seen.
Russian state news agency TASS had confirmed in an earlier report that the “atomic submarines will not be involved in the naval parade for the first time” ahead of the event, citing “several sources close to the navy.”
But their absence comes after Ukrainian drones rained down on Moscow on Sunday.
The strikes hit two administrative buildings in the Moskva-Citi business district, according to Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin.
Ukrainian Army Major Victor Trugebov told Daily Express US that attacks are a “major sign” that Moscow is vulnerable.
He said: “It is a symbol that Moscow is not indestructible, that Moscow is not well protected.”
Just hours after the attack which the military parade steered clear of, Putin pledged to bolster Russia’s naval might with the addition of 30 new ships.
He said during Navy Day celebrations that this is part of “large-scale tasks of national maritime policy” – referring to the Ukraine war – and added that Russia “consistently builds the might of its fleet”.
Putin said at the parade on Sunday: “In the name of Russia, our sailors are going to the greatest lengths, displaying great heroism and battling valiantly, like our great ancestors.”
Meanwhile, the Kremlin’s fears may also be rising after Kyiv warned it is gearing up to retake the annexed Crimean Peninsula, which has been in Russian control since 2014.
Russia’s security council chief and former president Dmitry Medvedev warned that Moscow would have “no other choice” but to launch a nuclear strike if Ukraine regained control of Crimea.
Its defense ministry also claimed to have thwarted strikes by 25 Ukrainian drones on Crimea, taking out 16 of them.
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