Russia: Expert discusses new threats to US ahead of summit

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According to Russian media outlets, the Mercury naval corvette is close to being completed. The ship has been delayed for years, and is equipped with stealth technology to make it hard to detect by enemy vessels.

Two shipbuilding industry sources told state media outlet RIA Novosti the Mercury is nearing completion.

The sources told the outlet the Mercury corvette, dubbed Project 20386, is expected to be delivered to the navy as soon as next year.

They also shared the hull of the corvette has already been built.

Once launched, the ship will be Russia’s first fully stealth vessel, with a special shape minimising protrusions and crevices on its surface.

RIA Novosti reported Mercury will be armed with cruise missiles, anti-aircraft missiles and artillery.

It will also have equipment for hunting and destroying submarines.

In 2013, the Izvestia daily newspaper quoted a high-placed military source as saying that the ship would be too expensive, at up to 18 billion rubles (£175 million).

The military source also said the ship would be equipped with “excessive” weaponry it did not need, such as the Kalibr cruise missiles.

Moscow has invested heavily over the last decade in a rearmament programme meant to replace the army and navy’s Soviet-era weaponry.

However, Russia’s economy suffered after sanctions from Western countries in 2014, following Moscow’s annexation of Crimea.

Last year, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated the country would add new ships, vessels and weapons to its navy.

He said at the time: “The capability of our navy grows constantly.

“This year 40 ships and vessels of different class will enter service, and several days ago six more vessels for the far-sea zone were laid down at Russia’s three leading shipyards.”

He also announced a range of hypersonic weapons which will be installed in some areas of the navy, which he said would boost their combat capabilities.

It comes as Mr Putin signed a law formalising Russia’s exit from the Open Skies arms control treaty, a pact that allows unarmed surveillance flights over member countries.

Russia initially hoped Mr Putin and US President Joe Biden could discuss the treaty when they meet later this month at a summit in Geneva, but Washington informed Moscow in May it would not re-enter the pact after Donald Trump’s administration quit last year.

The Kremlin said on Monday the US decision to withdraw from the treaty had “significantly upset the balance of interests” among the pact’s members and had compelled Russia to exit.

In a statement on its website, it said: “This caused serious damage to the treaty’s observance and its significance in building confidence and transparency, (causing) a threat to Russia’s national security.”

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