Russia to strengthen army in the face of “increased NATO activity”
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Wednesday that the country should further develop its armed forces in the face of “the intensification of NATO activities” at its borders.
“The difficult military and political situation in the world and the increased activity of NATO countries near Russian borders require an increased development of the quality of the armed forces,” Shoigu told officials in televised remarks.
Among the priorities of the Russian armed forces are “increasing their efficiency, maintaining the combat readiness of nuclear forces and enhancing the potential of non-nuclear deterrents,” added the Minister of Defense.
Western countries have sounded the alarm bells this month over reported Russian military activity near Ukraine, with the United States saying it has “real concerns” about a further build-up of troops at the border.
Moscow has rejected growing Western claims that Russia may be preparing to invade Ukraine and says any military build-up is a response to increasing NATO activity near its borders.
On Tuesday, Shoigu accused Washington of sending its bombers to carry out a nuclear strike on Russia – east and west – during its “Global Thunder” military exercises.
Renewed Western fears over Russia’s plans in eastern Ukraine came amid clash over an unexpected migrant crisis on the border with Belarus aligned with the Kremlin and Poland, member of the EU.