SINGAPORE, November 16 (RIA Novosti) - Russia plans to increase its naval presence in the world's oceans, President Dmitry Medvedev said on board a Russian warship during an official visit to Singapore on Monday.
Russia announced in 2007 that its Navy had resumed and would build up a constant presence throughout the world's oceans. Once one the world's most powerful forces, the Russian Navy now has few ships regularly deployed on the open seas.
Asked by the crew of the Varyag cruiser if Russia's presence would be stepped up further, Medvedev said: "Yes, this is planned."
Moscow has recently contributed warships to international efforts to combat Somali pirates. A flotilla of Russian warships also participated in exercises with India and Venezuela last year.
Last year's tour of the Mediterranean, Caribbean, South Atlantic and the Indian Oceans by a flotilla led by the heavy missile cruiser Pyotr Veliky (Peter the Great) was lauded by many in Russia as the country's naval reappearance on a global scale and criticized in the West as echoing the Cold War-era.
After making several port calls and engaging in antipiracy operations off Somalia, the Pyotr Veliky arrived in Venezuela in late November, which coincided with Medvedev's state visit to the Latin American state. The president visited the ship along with his Venezuelan counterpart, Hugo Chavez.
In September 2008, Russia was reported to be in talks with Syria on turning the Tartus port into a permanent Middle East base for Russian warships.
Medvedev said Russia needs an effective navy to be able to send ships to take part in international missions.
"Our objective at the moment is to invest more considerable funds in the Navy. Decisions have been made, warships will be purchased under a state armaments program, certain steps will be made next year," Medvedev said.
He also said the current economic slump would have an insignificant effect on arms purchases for the Army and Navy.
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If attempts to drag Russia into a direct military conflict in Ukraine are successful, it would be a catastrophe for Russia comparable to the 1979-1989 Afghan war. There is no direct evidence that the US is trying to bring about a second Afghan war, but indirect evidence abounds.