Putin Observes Missile Test Launch
MOSCOW (AP) _ President Vladimir Putin watched a ballistic missile test launch from a submarine in the Barents Sea on Thursday while observing naval exercises, Russian media reported.
Putin, who has stressed the importance of reviving Russia’s military might, had spent the night underwater aboard the nuclear submarine Karelia.
He boarded the vessel wearing a navy cap and greatcoat and surrounded by military generals and an honor guard on a dock near Murmansk in Russia’s far northwest, television news reports showed.
The presidential trip was a show of support for the Russian navy and particularly the Northern Fleet, which includes most of Russia’s submarines with nuclear missiles, but which has fallen on hard times in recent years.
Despite the fleet’s current anemic state, many Russian military leaders consider it a symbol of the country’s greatness.
Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev, who once commanded the country’s strategic missile forces, and the Navy’s top commander Adm. Vladimir Kuroyedov accompanied Putin on the Karelia.