Russia is to deploy two new divisions in the west and one in the south to counterbalance NATO’s increased military presence near Russian borders, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu announced.
“The Defense Ministry is taking a number of measures to respond to the NATO military buildup at the Russian border,” Shoigu said on Wednesday. “Before the year’s end two new divisions will be formed in the Western Military District and one in the Southern Military District.”
Earlier there were reports in the Russian media that three new divisions with 10,000 troops each may be deployed in Rostov-on-Don, the Smolensk Region and the Voronezh Region.
NATO has been sending additional forces to Poland, the Baltic States and elsewhere near Russian borders since 2014. It claimed that the deployments were necessary to build confidence of Eastern European members in the face of “Russian aggression.”
The perceived aggression was exemplified by the example of Crimea, which seceded from Ukraine after a coup in Kiev. The former Ukrainian region voted in a referendum to join Russia, which was described as an illegal annexation through military force by the new government in Kiev and its foreign allies.
Moscow rejected the reasoning and said that the alliance was using the political crisis in Ukraine to justify its existence by playing the old Russia scaremongering card.
During a top-level meeting at the ministry, Shoigu also said that Russia has rapped-up military training and production of advanced military hardware in response to the NATO threat.