New Russian nuclear submarine enters service

Updated 10 January 2013
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New Russian nuclear submarine enters service

MOSCOW: The Russian navy on Thursday hoisted its flag on a new nuclear powered submarine intended to form a key part of the country’s future nuclear deterrent.
The Yury Dolgoruky, which carries 16 Bulava intercontinental ballistic missiles, is the first of a new series of Borei-class submarines that will replace older Soviet-built ships. Another submarine of the same type is currently undergoing sea trials and two others are now under construction.
President Vladimir Putin congratulated the Yuri Dolgoruky’s crew during a conference call Thursday, hailing the ship as a “powerful weapon that will guarantee our security.”
“Submarines of that class will become an important element of sea-based strategic forces, a guarantor of global balance and security of Russia and its allies,” Putin said.
Commissioning of the new submarines is part of an ambitious arms modernization program that envisages spending over 20 trillion rubles ($657 billion) on new weapons through 2020.
Putin said Thursday that 4 trillion rubles ($132 billion) of that money will be spent on commissioning the new submarines and other navy ships. “Modernization of the navy is one of the most important priorities in our work to strengthen the armed forces,” he said.
Putin said the navy will commission the total of eight Borei-class ICBM nuclear submarines and eight nuclear submarines of a different Yasen class intended to hunt for enemy ships.
The Yuri Dolgoruky’s construction started in 1995 but was slowed down by a post-Soviet economic meltdown and it wasn’t until 2009 when it finally entered sea trials. The submarine’s commissioning was delayed further by problems with the new Bulava intercontinental ballistic missile intended to arm it.
The Bulava experienced a string of failures during tests that dragged on for years, raising doubts about the future of the most expensive military project in Russia’s post-Soviet history. Recent tests, however, have been successful, allowing the navy to finally commission the submarine.
Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, who attended the commissioning of the new submarine at a shipyard in Severodvinsk, said that the Bulava is fully combat ready.
Facing questions about Bulava, Putin’s chief of staff Sergei Ivanov also insisted that “the navy has no reason to doubt its reliability.”
A hawkish Russian Cabinet member marked the ceremony with a tongue-in-cheek comment mimicking the Cold War-era diatribes of Soviet leaders. “You bourgeoisie tremble! You are screwed!” Dmitry Rogozin, deputy prime minister in charge of military industries, wrote on Twitter.
Rogozin, a nationalist politician in the past, has been known for his bellicose and sometimes crude statements.


Rights court dismisses Breivik’s complaint about jail conditions

Breivik is serving a 21-year sentence for the July 2011 massacre of 77 people. (Lise Aaserud via Reuters)
Updated 2 min 35 sec ago
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Rights court dismisses Breivik’s complaint about jail conditions

STRASBOURG: The European Court of Human Rights on Thursday dismissed a complaint by Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik over his prison conditions, ending a long-running saga that kept him in the public eye, tormenting his victims.
Breivik is serving a 21-year sentence for the July 2011 massacre of 77 people, most of them teenagers gunned down while attending a Labour Party youth camp on the small island of Utoeya.
The far-right, anti-Islam extremist took his case to the ECHR after Norway’s Supreme Court refused to hear his appeal last year against a ruling that his near-isolation in a three-room cell respected his human rights.
His lawyer argued that the prison conditions breached articles 3 and 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights: the former prohibits inhuman or degrading treatment, the latter guarantees a right to privacy and family life.
“His state (of mind) is deteriorating,” his lawyer Oystein Storrvik told AFP. “He is no longer able to study for example.”
But the court based in Strasbourg said that “its examination of the case did not reveal any violations of the Convention, and rejected the application as inadmissible for being manifestly ill-founded.”
Norwegian officials have repeatedly rejected allegations that Breivik is isolated, arguing that he is treated as a “VIP prisoner” and has regular contact with prison staff, his lawyer and visitors.
He has the use of three cells, each measuring more than 10 square meters and equipped with a television, computer, DVD player and gym gear. He has no Internet connection, however.
Survivors of the Utoeya massacre expressed satisfaction at the ruling.
“It’s a relief. We’re hoping not to hear his name again for many years to come,” Lisbeth Kristine Royneland, the head of a victims’ support group whose 18-year-old daughter was killed by Breivik, told AFP.
Writing on Twitter, a survivor of the massacre, Tore Remi Christensen, wrote: “The Breivik case is rejected in Strasbourg. Delighted. May he and all those who share his shitty message rot in hell.”
Breivik’s killing spree began on July 22, 2011, when he set off a bomb outside a government building in Oslo, killing eight people.
Disguised as a police officer and armed with a semi-automatic rifle and pistol, he then went to Utoya where the Labour Party was holding a youth camp, killing 69.
During his trial the extremist, who has changed his name to Fjotolf Hansen, repeatedly addressed the courts with Nazi salutes and complained about the cold coffee and frozen meals served in prison, among other things.
His sentence can be extended indefinitely if judges determine he remains a threat to society.