'The existence of Russia's Baltic Fleet is a weighty argument in talks with Europe over EU and NATO expansion,' according to Speaker of the Federation Council Sergei Mironov. He made this announcement on Sunday at a meeting with the commander and crew of the fleet's flagship.
'At the moment, when Russia is holding difficult negotiations with Europe over problems connected with EU and NATO expansion, the significance of the Baltic Fleet, which defends our country's strategic interests in the region, is sharply increasing,' said Mironov. 'Because of this we are going to do everything necessary to increase its war readiness'. At the same time, the Speaker of the Federation Council underlined that Russia, which adheres to the doctrine of adequate defence, does not intend to increase her military presence in the Baltic.
Mironov, together with a group of senators, was at the Baltic Fleet's main naval base in the town of Baltiisk. The senators were meeting the fleet's top commanders, examining the naval harbour and visiting warships.