(RIA Novosti) - Efforts to maintain the Fleet's combat readiness are a top priority for Russia, Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said Sunday.
Ivanov who is also a deputy prime minister is attending a naval holiday in Baltiisk, the main base of the Russian Baltic Fleet, devoted to the celebration of Navy Day, reports Trend.
Ivanov said Russia's national interests could not be protected without a naval component.
"For this purpose, our Navy, like the country's Armed Forces, is actively optimizing its structure and re-equipping. The Fleet is taking measures to switch to a qualitatively new level that corresponds to the requirements of the 21st century," Ivanov said.
Speaking about the Baltic Fleet, the defense minister said it would keep its strategic military importance now and in the future.
"Its existence makes it possible to influence seriously military and political processes taking place on Russia's western frontiers," Ivanov said.