- MOSCOW (CNN) -- Amid the crisis in Yugoslavia, Russia's Black Sea fleet
is firing everything it has in war exercises, which are designed to show
Russia's navy is still ready for battle.
- "We are prepared for war,"
said Adm. Viktor Kravchenko. "However many ships they ask for, that's
how many they'll get."
- But most of the warships in the fleet
are 30 years old. Instead of computers, they are equipped with pens and
paper, and run by manual labor.
- "For 10 years, there has been almost
no money spent on new technology," said military analyst Sergei Sokut.
"So in areas like computer-guided weapons systems, we have gotten
- That weakness has some Russian military
commanders bristling with anger - both at their role as bystanders in the
Yugoslav conflict and at perceived snubs from their counterparts in the
- Possible Russian military budget cuts
include scaling back meals
- It has also led to calls for a rethinking
of Russia's military doctrine, with the possibility of modernizing or rebuilding
part of its nuclear arsenal.
- "Nuclear forces have been and remain
a key element for our national security and military might," said
President Boris Yeltsin.
- Because Yeltsin has said no warships
will be sent to the Adriatic Sea during the Yugoslav conflict, sailors
in the Black Sea fleet are out of harm's way for now.
- But they must subsist on a meager diet
of buckwheat, beets and black bread. And with some units considering cutting
back from three meals a day to two, finding money in the budget for weapons
systems won't be easy.