Putin promises to improve conventional and nuclear military capabilities, including missiles that are “unrivalled in the world”.

“At the beginning of January, the frigate ‘Admiral Gorshkov’ will be in service with new Zircon missiles, which have no equal in the world,” Putin said during a meeting with military leaders, reviewing the activities of the armed forces. Set targets for 2023.

The Zircon cruise missile, capable of reaching nine times the speed of sound, is similar to the Kinzhal ballistic missile, a new family of weapons developed by Russia.

Both of these hypersonic missiles, described by Putin as invincible, have already been used in the war in Ukraine.

The meeting of key Defense Ministry leaders comes amid a war in Ukraine that began on February 24 this year, when it invaded to “demilitarize and denuclearize” the neighboring country.

At the same meeting, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Russia was fighting “the combined forces of the West” in Ukraine through its financial aid and arms supply to Kiev.

Shoigu announced that the Russian military would establish naval bases in Mariupol and Berdyansk, two occupied cities in southern Ukraine, to support its navy.

“The ports of Berdiansk and Mariupol are fully functional. We plan to set up support bases for ships, emergency services and naval repair units,” Shoigu was quoted as saying by French agency AFP.

Shoigu proposed increasing the size of the armed forces to 1.5 million troops and raising the age limit for military service.

“In order to ensure the fulfillment of the tasks of guaranteeing the military security of Russia, it is necessary to increase the number of military personnel to 1.5 million, of which 695,000 are under contract”, he reasoned.

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Putin said he agreed to the troop increase after signing a decree in August that had already increased the number of combat troops to 1.15 million as of January 1.

In his speech, Putin pledged to continue improving the combat capabilities of the Russian armed forces, which he said was “constantly and daily increasing.”

“We will continue to maintain and improve the combat readiness of our nuclear triad,” the Russian leader added, referring to the air, sea and land components of the nuclear forces.

Putin, like his defense minister, denounced Russia as confronting the combat capabilities and capabilities of key NATO nations in Ukraine, citing Western military aid to Ukrainian forces.

“However, our soldiers, sergeants and officers are fighting bravely and courageously for Russia. Step by step, they are solving the set tasks and these tasks will be fulfilled,” Putin said, as quoted by Spanish agency EFE.

Putin said NATO assets were well-known in operations in Ukraine against Russian forces.

“You have all these, all these should be thoroughly analyzed and used to build up our armed forces, to enhance the combat capability of our troops and patriotic security services,” he said.

“You are fighting, I am not afraid of these comparisons, (…) like the heroes of the War of 1812, the First World War and the Great Patriotic War”, he added, in the latter case, referring to the period. World War II. The World Cup between the Nazi attack on the Soviet Union and the surrender of Germany.

Putin has called for a minute’s silence for the fallen Russians in Ukraine.

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