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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Navy in Poor State, Vice President Says

Russia's once formidable navy is in disarray and most ships are unable to go to sea, Vice President Alexander Rutskoi told legislators Wednesday.

Rutskoi told a meeting of the Military Reform faction of parliament that only two of Russia's five aircraft carriers were seaworthy. The situation with cruisers and submarines, he said, was even worse.

A spokesman for the navy refused to comment on Rutskoi's remarks, but he said that the navy has retained its military readiness and that it ships "were fulfilling their duties".

But the spokesman, Alexander Veledeyev, did admit that the Russian Navy was having "problems" with repairs due to lack of finances.

He said that the aircraft carriers Fleet Admiral Kuznetsov, Kiev and Admiral Gorshkov were on active duty in Russia's Northern Fleet.

He said that two other aircraft-carrying cruisers, Minsk and Novorossiisk are being gradually phased out of active duty Veledeyev said that at the present time, none of the ships were at sea.

Rutskoi suggested setting up a special parliamentary commission to check the military readiness of the navy.

The vice president, who has broken with President Boris Yeltsin, also repeated accusations of widespread corruption in Yeltsin's government and Russia's Western Group of Forces.

Rutskoi said Wednesday that the president had ordered his top corruption official to ignore the latter charges.

"The president gave the command to Alexei Ilyushenko to say that the facts about the Western Group of Forces have no basis in reality", Rutskoi said. It was the first time he had implicated Yeltsin in a cover-up of the violations Rutskoi alleges.

Rutskoi said that a special investigator of the Russian General Prosecutor's office would speak in parliament in July to announce the results of investigations begun after the vice president accused a number of top government and military officials of corruption in April.

The vice president got a vote of support from the assembled legislators, who announced that they would form an election campaign committee for Rutskoi for any future elections.