Monday 18 December 2017

Russia to boost troops along its borders

Ash Carter Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Ash Carter Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Roland Oliphant

Russia will raise three new military divisions to counter an increased Nato presence in eastern and central Europe, the country's defence minister has said.

Two new divisions will be deployed to Russia's western border and one to the south by the end of the year, Sergei Shoigu said in Moscow yesterday.

"The ministry of defence has adopted a series of measures to counter the growing capacity of Nato forces in close proximity to the Russian borders," Mr Shoigu said, according to Interfax.

He did not give any details about the number or kind of troops that will be deployed.

Mr Shoigu's comments came after the United States revealed plans to maintain a beefed-up Nato military presence in the region in response to concerns about Russia's appetite for military adventurism since the annexation of Crimea in 2014.

Ash Carter, the US defence secretary, said on Monday that the alliance was considering maintaining a permanent rotation of 4,000 troops in the Baltic States and possibly Poland.


The proposed force would be separate from a US armoured brigade of about 4,200 troops that is to be deployed to the region next year.

Russia initially announced the creation of new divisions in response to the Nato build up and exercises in January.

Col Gen Slyukov, the commander of Russian ground forces, said at the time that three new divisions would be formed this year in Russia's western military district, which stretches from the Urals to the borders with Norway, Finland, Estonia, Belarus and the Ukraine, and one more in the central military district, which covers most of western Siberia.

In February, Russia ruled out strengthening arms control commitments after the US said that it would quadruple spending on its military in Europe.

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