Putin reviews naval parade, touts Russia's hypersonic weapons

President Vladimir Putin (left) attends the Russia Navy Day parade in St Petersburg, on July 25, 2021. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

MOSCOW (BLOOMBERG) - Russian President Vladimir Putin used a Navy Day parade to deliver his latest reminder of the country's military muscle, touting the nation's hypersonic nuclear weapons at a ceremony in his home town of St Petersburg.

"Today, the Russian navy has everything it needs to defend our homeland, our national interests," Mr Putin said in a speech in front of a monument to the fleet's founder, Peter the Great.

"We can locate any enemy, whether they're on, under or above the water. And if required, deal them an unavoidable strike."

More than 50 vessels and 4,000 troops took part in the parade ahead of the navy's 325th anniversary in October.

As well as destroyers, submarines and assault vessels, the Prince Vladimir, a Borei-A class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine, was on display for the first time.

The event took place without spectators as Russia wrestles with a new spike in Covid-19 cases due to the Delta variant.

In his speech, Mr Putin praised Russia's rapid rise to naval power. From the rudimentary vessels of Peter's day, the navy now possesses "the latest hypersonic precision weapons systems, that have no equivalent in the world, and which we constantly and successfully improve", he said.

In June, Mr Putin accused the United States and Britain of staging a "provocation" in the Black Sea that saw Britain's HMS Defender engaged in a stand-off with Russian ships and fighter jets off the coast of Crimea.

Russia said it used bombs and gunfire in "warning shots" to force the vessel to leave waters Britain and its allies do not recognise as Russian territory after Mr Putin's 2014 annexation of the strategic peninsula from Ukraine.

Mr Putin stoked fears of a new arms race three years ago when he unveiled new nuclear weapons in his regular state-of-the-nation address.

At the start of this year, the last remaining nuclear arms treaty between the US and Russia got a five-year extension, when Mr Putin and US President Joe Biden agreed to prolong the so-called New START in their first exchange since Mr Biden took office.

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