NATO build-up on Russian borders to be responded: Moscow

NATO build-up on Russian borders to be responded: Moscow

MOSCOW: (APP) Russia's defence minister on Wednesday rebuked NATO for bolstering its military presence in eastern Europe and vowed Moscow will take countermeasures.

"The US and other NATO members continue to build their military potential, first and foremost in countries neighbouring Russia," defence minister Sergei Shoigu was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies.

"Such actions by our Western colleagues will undermine Europe's stability and force us to take countermeasures, first of all, in the western strategic direction."

Shoigu said that "more than 2,000 units of new and modernised equipment" would be deployed in Russia's western military district this year.

This latest warning comes nearly two months after Shoigu said Moscow was poised to set up three new military divisions in the west and south of the country to counter NATO forces close to its border.

Relations between NATO and Russia have soured over Moscow's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine and eastern European countries worried that they too might be targets of Russian aggression.

In response, NATO has deployed additional military resources on its eastern flank. At its previous summit in 2014, the alliance decided to reinforce its presence along the Russian border, angering Moscow.

Russia has repeatedly accused the US-led military alliance of trying to contain it ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union opened up the former Eastern Bloc.

Shoigu on Wednesday claimed that the intensity of NATO's activities along the Russian border had "more than doubled", claiming that up to 30 NATO warplanes and some 1,200 pieces of military equipment are stationed on a rotational basis in Eastern Europe.

The minister warned that the intensity of NATO activity in the region could "considerably increase" after the alliance's next summit, which is taking place in Warsaw July 8-9.