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—Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu
Russia will form three new military divisions to counter what it believes is the growing strength of The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu announced on Wednesday.
Two of the new divisions will be deployed along Russia's western border and one along its southern border, Shoigu said in televised remarks. The new divisions will be formed by the end of the year.
Russian media, citing unnamed military sources, said the new divisions would most likely be motorised rifle ones and number around 10,000 soldiers each.
"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," Shoigu said.
Russia's Western Military District borders Ukraine, Belarus, the Baltic states and Finland. The Southern Military District borders Ukraine, Georgia and Azerbaijan.
Russia has reacted angrily to NATO's increased military presence in countries that were once part of the Soviet Union and to military exercises close to its borders.
But its own actions, notably its annexation of Ukraine's Crimea in 2014, have sparked anxiety in the region and Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania asked the alliance to expand its presence on their soil as a deterrent.
US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter said on Monday NATO was weighing rotating four battalions of troops through Eastern member states.
Tensions in the Baltic have risen in recent weeks with Russia scrambling jets to intercept US reconnaissance planes and making simulated attack passes near a US warship.
The Kremlin strongly denies having any intention to attack the Baltic countries, but has often said it feels they have become an aggressive "russophobic kernel" pushing NATO towards a consistently anti-Russian course.