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Russia To Strengthen Baltic Fleet

1/21/2010 12:19 PM ET

Russian navy will strengthen its Baltic fleet with equipment upgrades and streamlining of personnel.

But the move is not in response to U.S. plans to deploy Patriot missiles in Poland, Russian Defense Ministry clarified Thursday reacting to a Russian state news agency RIA report quoting unidentified Russian navy official.

"The surface, underwater, and aviation elements of the Baltic Fleet will be strengthened," the ministry said.

Aiming to increase the combat readiness of Russian armed forces, President Dmitry Medvedev announced last year plans for a comprehensive military rearmament beginning 2011.

Higher oil revenues in recent years have allowed the Kremlin to increase the military budget, allowing it to allocate nearly $140 billion on buying arms over the next two years.

by RTT Staff Writer

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