lørdag 23. desember 2017

Number of NATO Troops Near Russian Borders Tripled Since 2012 - Defense Minister

 NATO's multinational battalion in Poland. (File)
© Sputnik/ Stringer
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Friday that NATO has doubled the number of its military drills since 2012 in the vicinity of Russia's borders, adding that Moscow is scrutinizing the exercises.
Speaking at the final meeting of the Defense Ministry's board, Sergei Shoigu said that the US missile defense system in Europe has been brought to the level of "initial operational readiness." The number of the bloc's servicemen deployed near Russian borders has grown from 10 to 40 thousand in three years, he added.While the bloc conducted 282 military exercises near Russia's borders in 2014, in 2017 the number of drills grew to 548.

He also said that the NATO member-states have intensified their surveillance operations near Russia. "We resolutely suppress any attempts to violate the Russian air and sea borders," the Minister of Defense added.

Shoigu has added that the Russian military is determined to keep the pace of modernizing hardware and acquiring new equipment next year. The armed forces will receive 10 S-400 missile systems and put in service 11 Yars missile systems. 

"The share of modern weapons in the Russian army should grow to 61 percent by the end of 2018, including 82 percent in the strategic nuclear forces, 46 percent in the land forces, 74 percent in the aerospace forces, 55 percent in the navy."

NATO-Russia relations deteriorated in 2014 when the alliance decided to suspend cooperation with Moscow over the Ukrainian crisis that was triggered by the coup in Kiev.