Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu delivered a wide ranging address to a meeting of the All-Russian Youth Forum in the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, titled “International military-political and military-economic cooperation: modern tendencies.”
Relations between the states become more and more strained,” Shoigu reported at the outset, according to the transcript posted on the Russian Defense Ministry website. “The attempts of the US-led West to impede the establishment of a new fair world order are leading to growing chaos, anarchy and meet protests in many countries.”
International institutions are unstable and terrorism remains a worldwide threat, Shoigu said. “Under these conditions, it is necessary to unite efforts of public and social institutions to provide protection of national interests and strengthening of defense of this country,” he continued. “Here, the development of the Strategic Nuclear Forces remains the absolute priority. Russian nuclear weapons guarantee deterrence of any aggression from any foreign country.” Modernization of the nuclear forces, therefore, remains a high priority. However, the future role of nuclear weapons in deterring a potential aggressor will decrease. “Primarily, it will be decreased due to development of high-precision weapons,” he said. The impact potential of our high-precision weapons will increase by 4 times to 2021.”
Shoigu went on to describe the accomplishments of the Russian military in Syria, to include the provision of humanitarian aid and the spread of the reconciliation process. He said that, as a result of the Russian Aerospace Forces operations, “Chain of the colored revolutions replicated in the Middle Eastern and African countries has been interrupted.”
Shoigu then hit NATO very hard: “As for relations with NATO, the leadership of the Alliance continues rejecting all forms of practical cooperation with the Russian party,” he said. “Instead of joining efforts to fight the common evil — international terrorism, the NATO claimed Russia to be the main threat and continues building up its military potential near our borders. The NATO has significantly increased the number of military exercises held in Eastern Europe, Baltic Sea and Black Sea. Most of them have anti-Russia character.”
“Intelligence activity of the NATO countries has been intensified along the Russian borders. Within last 10 years, total number of reconnaissance aviation flights near the Russian borders has been increased by almost 3 times, in the south-west of Russia by 8 times. In comparison, 107 such flights were carried out in the 90s, in the 2000s 298, and in 2016 852 ones,” Shoigu went on. “We have been registering NATO’s ships armed with missiles in the Black Sea more and more frequently. The missile defense system of the United States in Europe has been put on a level of initial operational readiness.” He noted that the combined military budgets of all of the NATO states are in the range of $900 billion, more than ten times Russia’s military spending. Despite all of this, however, “we are ready to establish equitable dialogue with Brussels about all topical issues of global and regional security,” he said.