article-2589663-1C9298FE00000578-650_634x468International sanctions “imposed for Moscow’s interference in Ukraine” are seriously slowing down the development of the Russian Navy; they “are blocking import of critical parts for warships”, and “at the same time an economic recession has lightened the nation’s coffers”, Stars and Stripes reports on August 2, 2015.

The article we are commenting now is quoting specialists at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London and at the CNA (Center for Naval Analyses) in the U.S. and is stating that “key components like chipsets made in Western Europe are now off limits to Russian shipbuilders”, and also that “problems importing gas turbines from Germany raise questions about the newest corvette class, the Gremyashchy. Ukraine’s decision to end production of gas turbines for two new Russian frigate classes, the Admiral Grigorovich and larger Admiral Gorshkov, has frozen construction of both”[1], More than this, some very serious “budget woes”, also connected, in a way or another, to economic sanctions “are likely to blame for slowed production of the Yasen-class nuclear attack submarine, whose first-in-class Severodvinsk wowed even U.S. Navy shipbuilders when it became operational in 2014. Where initial plans called for eight submarines to be operational by 2020”, an analyst at the CAN “said only two or three are likely in that timeframe”.

Official optimism in Russia

In the meantime, Russian official declarations almost completely ignore such serious problems. Western open sources were recently quoting Chief Commander Viktor Chirkov, saying that “the Russian Navy will receive 10 new warships and more than 40 support vessels by the end of the year”. Chirkov also stated that “after 2015, we also plan the construction of submarines – the Borei, Yasen and Lada class ones”[2]. Optimistically speaking about the Yasen-class submarines, Chirkov deliberately ignores what the Western specialists quoted by Stars ans Stripes know very well: that sanctions are generating a lot of “delays, funding issues and component shortfalls”[3], which are significantly slowing down Kremlin’s naval ambitions. The problems Russian Navy is confronted with are also offering an important window of opportunity to the U.S. military, aimed at deterring increased Russian aggressiveness.

[1] Steven BEARDSLEY, “Sanctions put a crimp in Russia’s naval plans”, Stars and Stripes, august 2, 2015, at the Internet address http://www.stripes.com/news/sanctions-put-a-crimp-in-russia-s-naval-plans-1.360991

[2] Imogen CALDERWOOD, “What did they Putin that missile? Russian Navy Day celebrations nosedive when weapons launch from warship flops into the sea”, Mail Online, July 27, 2015, at the Internet address http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3175806/What-did-Putin-missile-Russian-Navy-Day-celebrations-nosedive-weapons-launch-warship-flops-sea.html

[3] Steven BEARDSLEY, op. cit.

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