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NATO's Buildup Pushes 'Situation at Russian Border Toward Deterioration'

© Sputnik / Stringer / Go to the photo bankThe welcoming ceremony for NATO's multinational battalion headed by the USA in Orzysz, Poland.
The welcoming ceremony for NATO's multinational battalion headed by the USA in Orzysz, Poland. - Sputnik International
NATO's buildup is worsening the situation near Russia's western border, the defense minister said.

KALININGRAD (Sputnik) — The North Atlantic Treaty Organization's (NATO) activities in Eastern Europe are deteriorating the situation near western Russia, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said at a ministerial board meeting Wednesday.

"The situation developing near our western borders tends toward deterioration. This is due to the increased military activity of NATO countries in Eastern Europe," Shoigu said.

He pointed to the western alliance's build-up in the Baltics and "the improving infrastructure of their seaports, airfields and other military facilities."

"The formation of four battalion tactical groups is being completed in the Baltic countries and Poland, the total number of which will be about 5,000 servicemen with weapons and military equipment," Shoigu said.

Russia is bolstering its western defense capabilities in response to the NATO activities, Shoigu said.

"The actions of our Western colleagues lead to the destruction of the global security system, increase mutual distrust and force us to implement response measures, primarily in the Western strategic direction. We are improving the combat strength of the troops and their basing system," Shoigu said.

Over 30 battalions and company tactical teams in western Russia stand ready for immediate deployment, he said.

"More than 30 battalions and company tactical groups that are manned and equipped with the needed materiel are in readiness for immediate combat use," Shoigu said.

More than 300 pieces of weaponry and military equipment have been put into service with the Western Military District over the past six months, he added.

"Before the end of the year, around 20 army units will be formed in the Western Military District. For their stationing, about 40 military camps are being constructed," Shoigu said.

The minister added that these measures were timed with the supply of modern armaments.

"The intensity of events of combat and command preparation of the alliance is increasing … All that is happening demonstrates the blatant unwillingness of the western partners to give up the anti-Russia policy," Shoigu said at a ministerial meeting.

NATO's F-16 fighter being driven away from the Russian defense minister's plane in the Baltic airspace by a Su-27 jet. - Sputnik International
WATCH Su-27 Chase NATO F-16 Away From Russian Defense Minister's Plane
Relations between NATO and Russia have deteriorated since 2014 against the background of the Ukrainian crisis and Crimea's reunification with Russia. During this time, NATO decided to suspend projects of practical civilian and military cooperation with Moscow, but maintained channels of political dialogue. Since the beginning of Ukrainian crisis, the organization has also been boosting its military presence in Eastern Europe. During July 2016 NATO summit in Warsaw, allies agreed to deploy four multinational battalions to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.

Moscow has repeatedly denied allegations of involvement in Ukraine, as they are not supported by factual evidence. Russia has also warned that amassing troops and military equipment on its borders is a provocation, violates past NATO pledges, and can lead to regional and global destabilization.

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