Russian Defense Minister reports to Federation Council

Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu addressed the Federation Council. He informed the senators on the state of the armed forces and their development guidelines. Shoigu recalled the state of the Russian army in 2012. The share of modern weapons comprised 16 percent and only 47% were in an operational state, the Defense Ministry said.

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Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu (Picture source: Russian MoD)

"To remedy the situation, the supreme commander-in-chief ordered several priority tasks: to raise the share of modern arms to 70% by the end of 2020, annually increase the number of contracted servicemen by at least 50,000 men in the coming five years, raise housing provision and allowances, promote the patriotic upbringing of the young, increase the prestige and attractiveness of military service," he said. "The share of modern arms and hardware has raised to 68.2% and will increase to 70% by the end of the year. Modern strategic nuclear forces will exceed 87% 94% of the hardware is in an operational condition".

All missile brigades were rearmed with Iskander missiles. Since 2012, the Ground Forces received over 12,000 modern arms and hardware. The Aerospace Forces and the naval aviation received over 1,400 airplanes and helicopters. The Navy got over 190 warships, boats and supply vessels. By 2020, the combat potential of the Russian armed forces has more than doubled and allowed to keep strategic parity with NATO in conditions of growing military threats.

Kinzhal hypersonic missiles went on combat duty. Tsirkon hypersonic missile is undergoing flight trials. In December 2019, the first regiment with Avangard missiles and Peresvet lasers went on combat duty. Industrial modernization has been completed for batch production of heavy Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missiles.

The minister informed the senators about Russian activities in Syria. All military district commanders and their officers obtained combat experience, as well as army, division, brigade and regiment commanders. 90% of the pilots, 56% of air defense experts, 61% of navy men and 98% of military police obtained combat experience. "We received a whole cast of professional pilots who made 200 and more combat sorties," Shoigu said.

"The human resource of the armed forces has radically changed in the past seven years. The number of conscripts decreased to 225,000 and the number of contracted men has more than doubled to 405,000. They manned sergeant positions, commando units and marines, tactical battalion groups, and units related to sophisticated hardware," the minister said.

The military education system has been restored. In 2018, the first complete course of officers graduated from military establishments. There is high competition for the seats in military schools: it amounted to 18 applicants per seat in 2019.

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