Russia’s Military Measures in Response to NATO’s Buildup
June 30, 2016 (EIRNS)—Yesterday, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, during a meeting of the Defense Ministry Board, made up of senior military commanders, reported that NATO activity on Russia’s doorstep has "more than doubled" in the recent period, forcing Russia to take retaliatory measures. NATO and the US have deployed about 1,200 pieces of military hardware, including 30 combat jets, and US and other NATO vessels regularly enter the Baltic and Black Seas. Shoigu warned that, after the Warsaw summit, NATO can "significantly increase" its presence and activity near Russia’s borders.
"The United States and other NATO members continue to build up their military capabilities, primarily in countries neighboring Russia," he said.
"Such moves of our western colleagues lead to erosion of the strategic stability in Europe and force us to take counter- measures, primarily in the western theater of operations," Shoigu said, stressing that Russia takes actions aimed at strategic deterrence in the western military district to "neutralize potential threats." One measure Russia is taking is to beef up its military forces in the west of the country.
"This year, more than 2,000 pieces of new and modernized military equipment will enter operational service [within the units of] the western military district."
He also reported that 10,000 contract troops have been recruited into the military this year, and the construction of ten garrison towns is almost complete.
Another measure Russia is taking is to build up its forces in the Black Sea. Nikolai Litovkin, military correspondent for Russia Beyond the Headlines, reported yesterday, that Russia is expanding its naval base in Novorossiysk, about 340 km east of Sevastopol in Crimea. A source in the military industrial complex told RBTH that new piers are being built to accomodate the Black Sea Fleet’s six Varshavyanka-class Project 636.6 submarines—known in the West as the Improved Kilo class, three of which are already there.
Tass military expert Viktor Litovkin says that Ukraine’s policy after the collapse of the Soviet Union boiled down to squeezing Russia out of Crimea, but since the takeover of the peninsula by Moscow in 2014, the situation has changed and a full-scale reform of the fleet has begun.
"Sevastopol Bay offers unique opportunities to Moscow," Litovkin said.
"Together with the new base in Novorossiysk, Russia can fully control the Bosphorus, the military infrastructure in Bulgaria, as well as neutralizing the threat of a U.S. missile defense base in Romania."