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Russia to form 20 new units in west to counter NATO

The Russian military will form twenty new military units in its west this year to counter what it calls is a growing threat from NATO. 

Defence Minister of Russia, Sergei Shoigu made this announcement on Monday at a meeting with top military brass. He highlighted to a growing number of flights by US strategic bombers near Russia’s borders, deployment of NATO warships, and increasingly frequent and large-extent military drills by alliance forces. 

“We will form another 20 units and formations in the Western Military District until the year’s end,” Shoigu said. He added that the military units in Western Russia have commissioned about 2,000 new pieces of weaponry this year.  

Last month, a massive troop buildup in Russia’s south and southwest near the Ukrainian border raised concerns in Ukraine and the West, which urged Moscow to withdraw its forces. 

Russia has recalled some troops from its western part after sweeping manoeuvres in April, but Shoigu ordered them to leave their weapons behind for Russia’s West 2021 military drills scheduled in September. He said that preparations for the exercises, which will be conducted jointly with Belarus, are now in their final stage and emphasised that the manoeuvres have an exclusively defensive character. 

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