'Russia must augment its presence in the Black Sea region to protect its interests,' said Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov on April 30 at a regular session of the Russian marine board in Novorossiysk. According to Kasyanov, the presence of the Russian naval fleet on the Black Sea is an 'important factor for the county's national security.' He said that 'the activation of Russia on the Black and Azov Seas has always been the primary activation of the role of Russia in Europe.' Kasyanov said that a plan for the development of the war presence of Russia in the Black Sea region will be worked out by September 2003.
At the session, the strategic importance of Novorossiysk as the chief sea port of Russia was also emphasized. 'A lot has been done already; however, we still need to take real steps in order for all the infrastructure of the port to function reliably,' said Kasyanov. 'The gradual build-up of the Novorossiysk port's capacity and other Black Sea ports can be done without very great investment, and the ports must be effectively used,' said Kasyanov.
Moreover, participants at the session looked over the rate of the completion of the President's order and decision of the Russian marine board for the completion of an organization to manage the marine activity in maritime regions of Russia.