Russia has to respond to NATO’s growing potential in Europe: the defense minister

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Russia has been forming three new divisions in the western direction.

Russia has to respond to NATO’s growing potential in Europe: the defense minister

On Friday, the Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said that the ministry has to respond to the build-up of NATO’s military potential in Europe, including that close to Russian borders.

“NATO continues building up its military potential in Europe, including in close vicinity to the Russian borders. No doubt, this situation cannot but concern us. We are forced to respond to it,” the minister said, adding that the developments in the western strategic direction earned special attention.

Earlier, Shoigu said that the ministry was planning to form three new divisions in the western direction.

“We’re constantly improving the combat composition of the Western Military District’s troops. Work continued in 2015 to set up units and military formations, including three divisions,” the defense minister said.

The minister also stated that Russia’s Western Military District will receive over 1,100 pieces of new and upgraded military hardware in 2016.

The Western Military District Troops would receive Sukhoi Su-35 advanced fighter jets, Koalitsiya-SV and Msta-SM self-propelled howitzers and S-400 anti aircraft missile systems, as said by the Commander Andrei Kartapolov earlier.

The Russian Defense Minister said earlier that in  2016, about 300 surprise checks and more than 800 operative and combat training drills would be held in the Western military district.

“The level of training of personnel and military command bodies is being raised. This year there are plans for more than 800 routine operative and combat training drills and about 300 surprise checks,” Shoigu told the board meeting.

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