Russia to beef up defense on western, eastern borders

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MOSCOW

Russia will strengthen defense in its western and eastern military districts due to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) ramping up activities near its borders, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Wednesday. To neutralize emerging threats, we will be implementing a set of measures, Shoigu said at a meeting with senior Defense Ministry officials.

He said the military-political situation in the western strategic direction remains tense due to the strengthening of NATO’s military presence in eastern Europe, the deployment of a U.S. missile defense system in Poland and Romania, and the expansion of alliance’s military cooperation with Finland and Sweden.

Russia will take measures this year in its western military district to improve the preparedness of the troops, including its coastal forces, the air defense forces and logistics, Shoigu said. Troops in the western military district will receive more than 1,300 new and modernized armaments and military hardware by the end of the year, the minister said.

In the eastern military district, measures will also be taken to adequately respond to the existing and potential challenges, including the formation of a mixed aviation division and an anti-aircraft missile brigade, he said. By the end of the year, the eastern military district will receive 1,743 armaments and pieces of military hardware, Shoigu said. Over 120 drills are planned to be held across the country before the end of the year, including the Russia-Belarus Union Shield-2019 that will involve up to 12,000 troops and 950 units of military hardware.

Russia’s Defense Ministry will take wide-ranging measures in light of the mounting tensions along the country’s western borders, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said, opening the ministry’s board meeting on Wednesday.

When talking about the current military and political climate, he pointed to NATO’s ongoing military build-up in Eastern Europe, the deployment of US missile defenses to Poland and Romania, along with NATO’s growing cooperation with Finland and Sweden. We will take comprehensive measures to thwart the emerging threats, Shoigu pointed out.

The Russian defense chief said that a discussion on the meeting’s agenda would be held on carrying out the 2019-2025 plans set before the country’s Western and Eastern Military Districts in accordance with President Putin’s May Decrees of 2012 and 2018 and instructions handed down following the Sochi meetings.

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