Russia to form 20 new military units in west to counter NATO

In this handout photo released by Russian Defense Ministry Press Service, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu speaks during a meeting with hight level military officials in Moscow, Russia, Monday, May 31, 2021. Russia's defense minister says that that the military will form 20 new units in the country's west this year to counter what he described as a growing threat from NATO. Sergei Shoigu on Monday pointed at a growing number of flights by U.S. strategic bombers, deployments of NATO warships near Russia's borders and increasing drills by the alliance's force. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP)
In this handout photo released by Russian Defense Ministry Press Service, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu speaks during a meeting with hight level military officials in Moscow, Russia, Monday, May 31, 2021. Russia's defense minister says that that the military will form 20 new units in the country's west this year to counter what he described as a growing threat from NATO. Sergei Shoigu on Monday pointed at a growing number of flights by U.S. strategic bombers, deployments of NATO warships near Russia's borders and increasing drills by the alliance's force. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

MOSCOW – Russia's military will form 20 new units in the country's west this year to counter what it claims is a growing threat from NATO, the defense minister said Monday.

Sergei Shoigu made the announcement at a meeting with top military officials. He pointed to a growing number of flights by U.S. strategic bombers near Russia's borders, deployments of NATO warships and increasingly frequent and major drills by alliance forces.

He charged that such actions “destroy the international security system and force us to take the relevant countermeasures."

“We will form another 20 units and formations in the Western Military District until the year's end,” Shoigu said

He added the military units in Western Russia have commissioned about 2,000 new pieces of weaponry this year.

Asked Monday about Russia’s plans, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg noted that “Russia over the last years has invested heavily in new, modern military capabilities, from conventional to nuclear weapon systems” and "has been willing to use military force against neighbors, in Georgia, in Ukraine.”

“This is one of the main reasons why NATO over the last years has increased the readiness of (its) armed forces,” he told reporters before Tuesday's meeting of the alliance's foreign and defense ministers.

Currently, thousands of NATO troops, several warships and dozens of aircraft are taking part in military exercises stretching across the Atlantic, through Europe and into the Black Sea region.