Putin exits plane after arriving in Belarus
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Vladimir Putin has announced that four new nuclear submarines will be built to bolster Russia’s firepower at sea, state media in Moscow says. According to reports from RIA Novosti, Putin announced the launch of the ‘Emperor Alexander III’ via a video link, boasting that this will ensure Russia’s security.
Putin is quoted as saying: “I would like to note that four more such submarines will be built as part of the current state armament program. This will ensure Russia’s security for decades to come.”
The submarines will be equipped with modern navigation, communication and hydroacoustic systems, as well as precision weapons.
Putin added that the Generalissimo Suvorov vessel “is armed with Bulava ballistic missiles, which significantly increase the capabilities of our nuclear naval forces”.
State media reported that Putin was keen to emphasise the “pace and volume” at which these new submarines would be built.
As well as the Emperor Alexander III and Generalissimo Suvorov, a small missile ship named ‘Grad’ and a sea minesweeper named ‘Anatoly Shlemov’ will also be built.
The announcement comes as fighting in Ukraine continues to intensify.
On Thursday morning, Putin’s forces dropped at least 120 missiles on Kyiv and other cities.
Ukrainian presidential office adviser Oleksiy Arestovych said: “A massive air raid. More than 100 missiles in several waves.”
Russia has repeatedly dropped missiles on Ukraine, leaving those who remain in the country without basics such as electricity, water and heating.
Ukrainian officials have recently said that the war is at a “stalemate” on the battlefield with neither side able to make significant advances.
Russian President Putin has indicated that he would be willing to engage with Ukraine in peace talks, quoted on Wednesday by Tass as saying he is ready to “negotiate with everyone involved in this process about acceptable solutions”.
However, any peace deal looks far from happening given the huge gulf between the demands of Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Ukraine wants a complete withdrawal of Russian troops from the country, but the Kremlin will only accept a peace deal if it keeps control of the four recently annexed regions.
This week, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said Mr Zelensky’s demands for Moscow’s troops to leave eastern Ukraine and Crimea was an “illusion”.
He also said: “Our proposals for the demilitarisation and denazification of the territories controlled by the [Ukrainian] regime, the elimination of threats to Russia’s security emanating from there, including our new lands, are well known to the enemy.
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“The point is simple: Fulfil them for your own good. Otherwise, the issue will be decided by the Russian army.”
This came in response to Mr Zelensky’s 10-point peace plan, setting out Ukraine’s demands to see the war ended.
His peace formula included a number of conditions including nuclear safety near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, food security to ensure Ukraine can export grain to poorer parts of the world, and energy security so that Ukraine can rebuild its infrastructure.
Mr Zelesnky also wants Russia to release all prisoners and deportees, including war prisoners and children deported to Russia.
Other demands include Russian war crimes being prosecuted in a special tribunal, and that an official document is signed to end the war.
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