President Vladimir Putin has said Russia must boost its combat readiness in response to NATO’s “aggressive actions” near its borders.
Addressing the Russian parliament Putin also criticised the West for its reluctance to build a collective security system with Russia.
‘‘NATO is strengthening its aggressive rhetoric and its aggressive actions near our borders. In these conditions, we are duty-bound to pay special attention to solving the task of strengthening the combat defences of our country,” he declared.
Last month, Moscow announced
plans to create three new divisions to meet what it described as a dangerous military build-up on its borders.
NATO chief, Jens Stoltenberg urged dialogue.
“The important thing is that we need the NATO/Russia Council to have a chance of political dialogue open with Russia and especially when tensions are high. It is important that we talk, that we meet and that we do whatever we can to prevent misunderstandings, miscalculations, and try to reduce tensions,” Stoltenberg said.
NATO is also set to send four battalions to Poland and the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in an attempt to prevent a repeat of Russian actions, such as the annexation of Crimea in 2014.