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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Putin Stresses Navy's Importance




President Vladimir Putin honored the navy at festivities in the Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad on Sunday, returning to patriotic and military themes he has often stressed.


Putin spent Navy Day at the Baltiisk port, home of the Baltic Fleet, and took a trip on the destroyer Nastoichivy.


Putin has devoted many of his visits to military themes. He also sent congratulations to the paratroop forces, marking their 70th anniversary.


"When the navy became weak, it was always worse for the country," Interfax quoted him as telling sailors. "When it stood on its own feet, Russia also rose up and was able to call itself a great state."


Television showed Putin inspecting naval troops and then the start of a parade of vessels after the firing of a salvo of missiles from one ship.


Like the rest of the armed forces, the navy has suffered from cutbacks and a lack of funding in the post-Soviet period. The Navy Day ceremonies throughout the country were not all grand.


NTV television said the Pacific Fleet had scaled down a parade in its home port of Vladivostok.


"We do not live in a vacuum," Mikhail Zakharenko, the fleet's commander, told NTV. "We are Russians and it is our job to safeguard Russia's security. We have the same difficulties as everyone else."


Celebrations in Moscow focused on the paratroop anniversary with a series of drops staged in constant drizzle.


Joint festivities also took place for Russia's Black Sea Fleet, which shares the port of Sevastopol on Ukraine's Crimean peninsula with the small Ukrainian navy.