MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Russia will beef up its troops on the western and central regions of the country in 2016 due to NATO intensifying exercises in Eastern Europe, Ground Troops Commander Col.-Gen. Oleg Salyukov said Friday.
“In 2016, three divisions in the Western region and one in the Central region will be formed,” Salyukov told journalists.
“The formation of new divisions is one of the measures being used in response to the intensity of [military] exercises by NATO countries that have lately been observed,” he added.
NATO-Russia Council's work was suspended on April 1, 2014, after the alliance's foreign ministers issued a statement condemning Crimea's reunification with Russia.
Earlier this month, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the country's revised national security strategy stipulated Moscow's readiness to develop relations with NATO on the basis of equality to enhance global security in the Euro-Atlantic area, but the depth of such relations would depend on the alliance's commitment to take into account the legitimate interests of Russia and to respect international law.